Detection of Transgenes in Crop Plants Using Molecular Beacon Assays
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Molecular beacons are oligonucleotide probes that form a stem-and-loop structure and possess an internally quenched fluorophore. When they bind to complementary targets, they undergo a conformational transition that turns on their fluorescence. These probes recognise their targets with higher specificity than linear probes and can easily discriminate targets that differ from one another by a single nucleotide. As a model system to test the applicability of molecular beacons in crop plants, we have designed a molecular beacon to detect the bar transgene in barley. Results from this experiment indicate that molecular beacons can be successfully employed in detecting transgenes, simultaneously combining the benefits of being highly reproducible and sensitive. The molecular beacon assay is suitable for diagnostics, simultaneously being employed in the development of rapid DNA-based assays for analysing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
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