In molecular biology, a Southern blot is a technique for finding an exact DNA sequence in a sample of DNA. This technique was first developed by E.N. Southern in 1975. It is based on the hybridization principle. Hybridization is a process by which a single stranded DNA probe converts into a double stranded DNA by combining with a single stranded target DNA. This is a specific process in which the single stranded DNA probe binds only with target DNA with complementary sequence. The probe can identify a target molecule in a mixture of millions of related but non complementary molecules. Southern blotting is defined as a technique which is used to transfer DNA fragments from an electrophoresis gel to a membrane support for immobilization of DNA fragments so the membrane brings a semi-permanent replica of the banding pattern of the gel. After the immobilization now DNA fragments, can be exposed for hybridization analysis. The number of DNA fragments required for the Southern blotting technique depends upon the size and activity of the DNA probe. Short probes tend to be more specific for target DNA. Under an ideal condition, the expected detection is 0.1 picogram of the DNA, for which the probing is done. Southern blotting is used in various molecular biology processes to identify a specific DNA in a large DNA sample; to separate a desired DNA for construction of rDNA; and to identify mutation, deletion, and gene relocation. The technique is also used in phylogenetic analysis, diagnosis of HIV-1 and infectious diseases, restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), prognosis of cancer, and prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases. This technique is also applicable in DNA fingerprinting techniques such as paternity and maternity testing, criminal identification & forensic and personal identification.
The use of Southern blotting is increasing in the field of genetics and forensic science, which is expected to boost the demand for advanced drug discovery and development. This in turn is projected to drive the growth of the Southern blotting market in the next few years. In addition, growing incidence of chronic diseases such as cancer, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and HIV-1 and rising demand for faster diagnosis of chronic diseases are factors contributing to the market growth. Further, the use of Southern blot is rising in medical diagnosis and forensic sciences. However, factors such as unavailability of necessary devices for Southern blotting, high cost of products, and insufficient funding in developing countries are the major restraints for the growth of the Southern blotting market.
The Southern blotting market can be segmented on the basis of application, product, end-user, and region. On the basis of application, the market is categorized as medical diagnosis, genetic fingerprinting, scientific research, agricultural, and sex determination. Based on product, the market is categorized as consumables and instruments. On the basis of end-user, the market is segmented as biotechnology & pharmaceutical industries, research institutes, contract research organizations, and forensic labs.
The global market for Southern blotting is distributed over four regions: North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and rest of the world. North America is projected to dominate the global market with the U.S. as a major contributor owing to invention of advance medications and rise in research development. Asia Pacific is projected to expand at a significant growth rate attributed to the increasing investment in advanced techniques for drug development and high patient base suffering from chronic diseases. The Europe market is growing rapidly owing to high disease occurrence and aged population.
Key players operating in the global Southern blotting market include Cleaver Scientific Ltd., Aplegan, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., PerkinElmer Inc., Agilent Technologies, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Pall Life Science Laboratories, and Applied Biosystems.
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