The 5' nuclease PCR assay detects the accumulation of specific PCR product by hybridization and cleavage of a double-labeled fluorogenic probe during the amplification reaction. The probe is an oligonucleotide with both a reporter fluorescent dye and a quencher dye attached. An increase in reporter fluorescence intensity indicates that the probe has hybridized to the target PCR product and has been cleaved by the 5'-->3' nucleolytic activity of Taq DNA polymerase. In this study, probes with the quencher dye attached to an internal nucleotide were compared with probes with the quencher dye attached to the 3'-end nucleotide. In all cases, the reporter dye was attached to the 5' end. All intact probes showed quenching of the reporter fluorescence. In general, probes with the quencher dye attached to the 3'-end nucleotide exhibited a larger signal in the 5' nuclease PCR assay than the internally labeled probes. It is proposed that the larger signal is caused by increased likelihood of cleavage by Taq DNA polymerase when the probe is hybridized to a template strand during PCR. Probes with the quencher dye attached to the 3'-end nucleotide also exhibited an increase in reporter fluorescence intensity when hybridized to a complementary strand. Thus, oligonucleotides with reporter and quencher dyes attached at opposite ends can be used as homogeneous hybridization probes.