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A Quick Oligo Overview

An Oligo is short for oligonucleotides, which are shortened strands of DNA. When a scientist has a known DNA sequence, they can assign an oligo to perform a variety of tasks. Since living systems don’t discriminate synthesized DNA, researchers can use oligos as if they existed naturally. This technology enables researchers to catalog complete genetic makeups of hundreds of living things, ranging from bacteria to humans. There are many different types of oligonucleotides, and they are used in specific ways.

Antisense oligos inhibit gene expression levels in vitro and vivo. This technology has opened new approaches in development of drug therapeutics. These drugs are designed to cease production of disease causing proteins. The drugs are much less toxic than traditional treatments. Antisense oligonucleotides have been modified to prevent oligo degradation within cells, and to increase affinity to a specific target mRNA.

RNA modifications require purification processes. PCR method sequencing and hybridization needs desalted and deprotected oligos. HPLC purification enriches an oligo strand and usually removes any DMT groups, leaving a highly purified detritylated primer. This process adds to the potential affinity of the oligo.

Click chemistry takes processes to another level using a versatile technique that can be applied for synthesis of conjugates. Virtually, it can be useful for any biomolecules. Basic oligo labeling modifies small molecules such as fluorescent dyes, biotin, and similar synthetics. Click chemistry opens wider doors. The term is used to describe the [3+2] cycloaddition between alkynes and azides (nearly never encountered in natural biomolecules). Applying this concept toward nucleic acid modification creates great opportunity for extensive oligonucleotide labeling.

Oligo labeling has tremendous effects on biomolecules via various processing. Thanks to these methods, the technology is becoming more affordable and universal. Many companies are perfecting processes and inviting new thought into how applicable an oligo can be with drug development, research tools, and DNA sequencing.

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