Editor: Springer Science & Business Media
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Gene Quantification by Summary
Geneticists and molecular biologists have been interested in quantifying genes and their products for many years and for various reasons (Bishop, 1974). Early molecular methods were based on molecular hybridization, and were devised shortly after Marmur and Doty (1961) first showed that denaturation of the double helix could be reversed - that the process of molecular reassociation was exquisitely sequence dependent. Gillespie and Spiegelman (1965) developed a way of using the method to titrate the number of copies of a probe within a target sequence in which the target sequence was fixed to a membrane support prior to hybridization with the probe - typically a RNA. Thus, this was a precursor to many of the methods still in use, and indeed under development, today. Early examples of the application of these methods included the measurement of the copy numbers in gene families such as the ribosomal genes and the immunoglo bulin family. Amplification of genes in tumors and in response to drug treatment was discovered by this method. In the same period, methods were invented for estimating gene num bers based on the kinetics of the reassociation process - the so-called Cot analysis. This method, which exploits the dependence of the rate of reassociation on the concentration of the two strands, revealed the presence of repeated sequences in the DNA of higher eukaryotes (Britten and Kohne, 1968). An adaptation to RNA, Rot analysis (Melli and Bishop, 1969), was used to measure the abundance of RNAs in a mixed population.