In Situ Hybridisation (ISH)
In situ hybridization (ISH) is a type of hybridization (in which single-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules anneal to complementary DNA or RNA) that uses a labeled complementary DNA, RNA or modified nucleic acids strand (i.e., probe) to localize a specific DNA or RNA sequence in a portion or section of tissue (in situ), or, if the tissue is small enough (e.g., plant seeds, Drosophila embryos), in the entire tissue (whole mount ISH), in cells, and in circulating tumor cells (CTCs). This is distinct from immunohistochemistry, which usually localizes proteins in tissue sections.
In situ hybridization is a powerful technique for identifying specific mRNA species within individual cells in tissue sections, providing insights into physiological processes and disease pathogenesis. However, in situ hybridization requires that many steps be taken with precise optimization for each tissue examined and for each probe used. In order to preserve the target mRNA within tissues, it is often required that crosslinking fixatives (such as formaldehyde) be used.
In situ hybridization is used to reveal the location of specific nucleic acid sequences on chromosomes or in tissues, a crucial step for understanding the organization, regulation, and function of genes. The key techniques currently in use include: in situ hybridization to mRNA with oligonucleotide and RNA probes (both radio-labelled and hapten-labelled); analysis with light and electron microscopes; whole mount in situ hybridization; double detection of RNAs and RNA plus protein; and fluorescent in situ hybridization to detect chromosomal sequences. DNA ISH can be used to determine the structure of chromosomes. Fluorescent DNA ISH (FISH) can, for example, be used in medical diagnostics to assess chromosomal integrity. RNA ISH (RNA in situ hybridization) is used to measure and localize RNAs (mRNAs, lncRNAs, and miRNAs) within tissue sections, cells, whole mounts, and circulating tumor cells (CTCs). In situ hybridization was invented by Joseph G. Gall and Mary-Lou Pardue
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