Screening for deletions of all or part of genes poses a challenge in the diagnostic laboratory. Numerous methods are available for detecting deletions of a few base pairs or very large deletions, but difficulties arise in detecting deletions of a few kilobases. Two new techniques have recently been described that allow detection of such mid-size deletions by simultaneously screening for the loss or duplication of up to 40 target sequences. These are the multiplex amplification and probe hybridization (MAPH) and the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). Both rely on sequence-specific probe hybridization to genomic DNA, followed by amplification of the hybridized probe, and semi-quantitative analysis of the resulting PCR products. The relative peak heights or band intensities from each target indicate their initial concentration. The two techniques differ in the ease with which probes can be generated in house, and the labor intensity of performing the assay.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.