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Nucleic Acid Hybridization


Process of creating a hybrid strand of DNA/RNA

The two strands of a DNA molecule are denatured by heating to about 100°C = 212°F (a to b). At this temperature, the complementary base pairs that hold the double helix strands together are disrupted and the helix rapidly dissociates into two single strands.

The DNA denaturation is reversible by keeping the two single stands of  DNA for a prolonged period at 65°C = 149°F (b to a). This process is called DNA renaturation or hybridization.

Similar hybridization reactions can occur between any single stranded nucleic acid chain: DNA/DNA, RNA/RNA, DNA/RNA. If an RNA transcript is introduced during the renaturation process, the RNA competes with the coding DNA strand and forms double-stranded DNA/RNA hybrid molecule (c to d).

These hybridization reactions can be used to detect and characterize nucleotide sequences using a particular nucleotide sequence as a probe.

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