The peptide nucleic acids (PNAs): a new generation of probes for genetic and cytogenetic analyses

Ann Genet. Oct-Dec 2004;47(4):349-58. doi: 10.1016/j.anngen.2004.07.001.


Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are synthetic homologs of nucleic acids in which the phosphate-sugar polynucleotide backbone is replaced by a flexible pseudo-peptide polymer to which the nucleobases are linked. This structure gives PNAs the capacity to hybridize with high affinity and specificity to complementary sequences of DNA and RNA, and also confers remarkable resistance to DNAses and proteinases. The unique physico-chemical characteristics of PNAs have led to the development of a wide range of biological assays. Several exciting new applications of PNA technology have been published recently in genetics and cytogenetics. Also, PNA-based hybridization technology is developing rapidly within the field of in situ fluorescence hybridization, pointing out the great potential of PNA probes for chromosomal investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antisense Elements (Genetics)
  • Cytogenetic Analysis*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Probes*
  • Peptide Nucleic Acids*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antisense Elements (Genetics)
  • Molecular Probes
  • Peptide Nucleic Acids