RNA for medical analysis

From Clinical OMICS.com by Mike May

From Mendelian disorders to COVID-19, academic and industrial scientists use these nucleic acids to help diagnose diseases.

DNA

Molecular methods of diagnosing diseases promise fast and accurate approaches for an array of conditions. While many molecular diagnostics look for mutations in DNA, an increasing number analyze a sample’s RNA, and those are explored here. Manufacturers offer a variety of RNA-based diagnostics, and academic scientists continue to explore new approaches to using these molecules for medical analyses.

“One key benefit to RNA-based diagnostics is that there is an abundance of RNA in a cell as compared to DNA, which gives these tests a high level of sensitivity,” says Damon Getman, director, scientific affairs at diagnostic and medical imaging company Hologic. That sensitivity played a key role in developing a diagnostic for the sexually transmitted bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium. This bacterium “is the smallest characterized free-living organism capable of self-replication, and it is extremely difficult to grow in culture,” Getman explains. “In the early 2000’s, Hologic scientists collaborated closely with academic clinical investigators, providing research-use-only reagents for molecular detection of M. genitalium.”

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