Background Information

Introduction

Together with the development of immunohistochemical staining techniques, in situ hybridisation (ISH) was introduced as a molecular biology technique. Almost immediately after the introduction of ISH, a search for potential applications of this new tool in the field of medical diagnostics was initiated.

It was recognised from the start that ISH provides the method of choice for the (early) detection and differentiation of microbial infections in human as well as in veterinary populations. Moreover, direct analysis of alterations in gene expression in situ provides additional means for the assessment of pathological and genetic processes.

Thanks to the accumulating knowledge and technical achievements in the field of molecular biology, the number of diagnostic applications of nucleic acid hybridisation techniques has dramatically increased. The possibility to identify and isolate (pieces of) genes and the ability to synthesise nucleic acid sequences or to have them produced by micro-organisms have contributed considerably to this.

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