In this review, we report on patents concerning self-quenching DNA probes for assaying DNA during or after amplification as well as for direct assaying DNA or RNA, for example in living cells. Usually the probes consist of fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides whose fluorescence is quenched in the absence of the matching target DNA. Thereby the fluorescence quenching is based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), photoinduced electron transfer (PET), or electronically interactions between dye and quencher. However, upon hybridization to the target or after the degradation during a PCR, the fluorescence of the dye is restored. Although the presented probes were originally developed for use in homogeneous assay formats, most of them are also appropriate to improve surface-based assay methods. In particular we describe patents for self-quenching primers, self-quenching probes for TaqMan assays, probes based on G-quartets, Molecular Beacons, Smart Probes, and Pleiades Probes.
Keywords: Self-quenching probes, TaqMan assays, Molecular Beacons, Smart Probes, Pleiades Probes, FRET, PET, day aggregation
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