We describe a novel method for rapidly identifying and distinguishing between different DNA sequences using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis and DNA microarrays. The method can be used to deduce identity, length, and number of STRs of the target molecule. We refer to this technique as the “variable-length probe array” method for STR profiling (VLPA). The method involves hybridization of the unknown STR target sequence to a DNA microarray displaying complementary probes that vary in length to cover the range of possible STRs. A post-hybridization enzymatic digestion of the DNA hybrids is then used to selectively remove labeled single-stranded regions of DNA from the microarray surface. The number of repeats in the unknown target is then deduced based on the pattern of target DNA that remains hybridized to the array. This DNA profiling technique is useful for performing forensic analysis to uniquely identify individual humans or other species.
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