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A technique for detecting DNA sequences
Edwin Southern publishes the procedural details of what becomes known as the Southern Blot method, a technique for identifying and analyzing nucleic acids. Southern’s procedure detects the presence of specific nucleotide sequences in DNA samples. It involves separating pieces of DNA by means of gel electrophoresis, and exposing them to labeled DNA probes. The probes consist of nucleotide sequences that are complementary to the sequence of interest. Radioactive or fluorescent compounds are used as labels. The labels identify the probe and target sequence. Biochemists and molecular biologists working with nucleic acids relied for years on Southern blotting. The procedure has now been largely displaced by the use of DNA microarrays which, but it remains a preferred method for certain applications in which specificity rather than volume is the main criterion of utility.