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Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP)
Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP)


In molecular biology, restriction fragment length polymorphism, or RFLP is a technique that exploits variations in homologous DNA sequences. It refers to a difference between samples of homologous DNA molecules that come from differing locations of restriction enzyme sites, and to a related laboratory technique by which these segments can be illustrated. In RFLP analysis, the DNA sample is broken into pieces (digested) by restriction enzymes and the resulting restriction fragments are separated according to their lengths by gel electrophoresis. Although now largely obsolete due to the rise of inexpensive DNA sequencing technologies, RFLP analysis was the first DNA profiling technique inexpensive enough to see widespread application. In addition to genetic fingerprinting, RFLP was an important tool in genome mapping, localization of genes for genetic disorders, determination of risk for disease, and paternity testing. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) is a difference in homologous DNA sequences that can be detected by the presence of fragments of different lengths after digestion of the DNA samples in question with specific restriction endonucleases. RFLP, as a molecular marker, is specific to a single clone/restriction enzyme combination. Most RFLP markers are co-dominant (both alleles in heterozygous sample will be detected) and highly locus-specific. An RFLP probe is a labeled DNA sequence that hybridizes with one or more fragments of the digested DNA sample after they were separated by gel electrophoresis, thus revealing a unique blotting pattern characteristic to a specific genotype at a specific locus. Short, single- or low-copy genomic DNA or cDNA clones are typically used as RFLP probes.The RFLP probes are frequently used in genome mapping and in variation analysis (genotyping, forensics, paternity tests, hereditary disease diagnostics, etc.). Applications


Analysis of RFLP variation in genomes was a vital tool in genome mapping and genetic disease analysis. If researchers were trying to initially determine the chromosomal location of a particular disease gene, they would analyze the DNA of members of a family afflicted by the disease, and look for RFLP alleles that show a similar pattern of inheritance as that of the disease. Once a disease gene was localized, RFLP analysis of other families could reveal who was at risk for the disease, or who was likely to be a carrier of the mutant genes. RFLP analysis was also the basis for early methods of Genetic fingerprinting, useful in the identification of samples retrieved from crime scenes, in the determination of paternity, and in the characterization of genetic diversity or breeding patterns in animal populations. How does RFLP work?

How does RFLP work?

The basic technique for detecting RFLPs involves fragmenting a sample of DNA by a restriction enzyme, which can recognize and cut DNA wherever a specific short sequence occurs, in a process known as a restriction digest. The resulting DNA fragments are then separated by length through a process known as agarose gel electrophoresis, and transferred to a membrane via the Southern blot procedure. Hybridization of the membrane to a labeled DNA probe then determines the length of the fragments which are complementary to the probe. An RFLP occurs when the length of a detected fragment varies between individuals. Each fragment length is considered an allele, and can be used in genetic analysis. RFLP analysis may be subdivided into single- (SLP) and multi-locus probe (MLP) paradigms. Usually, the SLP method is preferred over MLP because it is more sensitive, easier to interpret and capable of analyzing mixed-DNA samples. Moreover, data can be generated even when the DNA is degraded (e.g. when it is found in bone remains.)

SNPs or INDELs can create or abolish...
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