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By Owen P Smith; Ian M Hann

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The antisense ODN binds to RNA, forming an RNA–DNA hybrid. This RNA–DNA hybrid blocks translation through activation of the RNase H pathway. RNase H recognizes RNA–DNA hybrids and degrades them rapidly within the cell. Antisense strategies have been employed successfully in vitro and in animal models, while phase I clinical trials in both CML and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been performed. Recent studies have also indicated that ribozymes, molecules that can cleave RNA directly, can be used as antisense agents.

Van Dongen JJM, Szczepañski T, Langerak AW, Pongers-Willemse MJ. (1999) Detection of minimal residual disease in lymphoid malignancies. In: Degos L, Linch DA, Löwenberg B, eds. Textbook of Malignant Haematology. London: Martin Dunitz: 685–724. GLOSSARY OF GENETIC AND MOLECULAR TERMS Allele The particular form of the gene that is inherited from one parent. Dominant The presence of one allele of a pair is sufficient to provide the phenotype of the individual. Cf. recessive. DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid, a doublestranded molecule containing a deoxysugar phosphate backbone and consisting of nucleotide base pairs that specify the genetic alphabet.

The nylon membrane containing the single-stranded material is incubated with a solution containing the DNA probe. Hybridization occurs between regions of complementary nucleotide sequence, and if the probe is labelled with a radioactive nucleotide then the pattern of hybridization can be revealed after X-ray autoradiography (Fig. 1). Polymerase chain reaction and mutation detection While the technologies described above allowed greater understanding of the molecular basis of haematological disease, the requirement for 10–20 µg of DNA for a single analysis could be limiting.

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