Prof Peter Chantler
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD)
Another technique used in pedigree determination is known as RAPD. This is really a stripped-down version of PCR but uses a single sequence in the design of the primer (ie. two primers are still needed for PCR: the same primer is used at either end).
The primer may be designed specifically, but could be chosen randomly and is used to amplify a series of samples which will include both the material of interest as well as other control samples with which the experimental material needs to be compared. Choice of primer length will be critical to the determination of band complexity in the resulting amplification pattern. Eventually a particular probe will be found that is able to distinguish between the sample of interest (eg a pit-bull terrier) and those that are different (eg. a Staffordshire bull terrier).
While the RAPD method is empirical, its simplicity of use and the eventual identification of some stretch of DNA, albeit unknown, to facilitate discrimination, makes it a popular means of identifying breeds.
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Course updated 6 Apr 2004