Molecular screening methods are those common methods generally involved in the manipulation and analysis of DNA, RNA, and protein to facilitate detection, diagnosis, subclassification, prognosis, and monitoring response to therapy. These screening methods are the collections of techniques used for assessing disease prognosis and therapy response by applying molecular biology to medical testing thus, providing relevant prior information for the assessment of disease prognosis, therapy response, and biological response modifiers.
Molecular screening methods identify specific therapeutic targets of several newly tailored drugs and finely characterizes the genetic basis of inherited diseases which, in turn, is crucial for the accurate provision of diagnosis and are used in different disciplines such as molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, and genetics. Types of molecular screening methods that have improved the efficacy, accuracy, and speed of detection and identification of disease-causing agents are-
- PCR and its modifications
- Southern blot, Dot blot, RFLP
- Northern blot
- Western blot
- In situ hybridization
- FISH and its modifications
These methods are mainly involved in microbial identification, ribonucleic acid analysis, origin and evolution of species, deoxyribonucleic acid fingerprinting, forensic analysis, immunophenotyping, single nucleotide polymorphism, and tag-sequencing. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce advanced molecular diagnostics methods to overcome the limitations of conventional methods of disease diagnosis that have low complexity and specificity, their inability to distinguish new pathogens derived from a common ancestor, and time-inefficient. These advanced techniques have a cutting-edge role in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and genetic disorders; however, these techniques are expensive; hence the costs of health care should be considered alongside their potential advantages.
In situ hybridization detects specific mRNA species within individual cells in tissue sections or entire tissue. The most widely used analytical technique in molecular biology is western blot is used to detect and characterize proteins. The northern blotting technique studies the gene expression by detecting specific RNA molecules among a mixture of RNA. Microarray technology involves the collection of microscopic DNA spots attached to a solid surface to study the expression of all genes at once.
The southern blotting technique identifies a specific DNA sequence in a blood or tissue sample. Molecular diagnostics holds enormous business potential helping to drive the in vitro diagnostics industries, companies, and the laboratories involved by offering a key role in the emerging field of personalized medicine. It is a game-changer for clinical laboratories of all sizes as it has revolutionized the way of investigating the human, viral, and microbial genomes, their genes, and the products they encode. Molecular screening methods easily detect pathogens that are difficult to cultivate, especially viruses that polymerase chain reaction has become the reference method.
These methods rely on the detection of individual biologic molecules. Molecular diagnostics methods can analyze the genome of an organism even if antibodies and antigens are molecular structures and can also provide quantitative indications. Some of the key applications of molecular diagnostics include disease risk management, infectious disease testing, oncology, blood screening, and genetic testing.
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