Detection of microbial nucleic acids for diagnostic purposes

Annu Rev Med. 1992;43:147-55. doi: 10.1146/


The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in the use of molecular genetic techniques to diagnose infectious diseases. Specific molecular probes have been developed for nearly all of the significant, known microbial pathogens. The evolution of incrementally more powerful technologies, particularly gene amplification, has made it possible to detect pathogens with exquisite sensitivity, as well as specificity, based on their nucleic acids. As increasingly rapid and automated methods have become incorporated into successive generations of probe tests, these diagnostics have gained increasing acceptance for routine clinical use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cloning, Molecular*
  • Communicable Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Communicable Diseases / genetics
  • DNA Probes*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*


  • DNA Probes