RAPD (pronounced "rapid") stands for 'Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA'. It is a type of PCR reaction, but the segments of DNA that are amplified are random. The scientist performing RAPD creates several arbitrary, short primers (8–12 nucleotides), then proceeds with the PCR using a large template of genomic DNA, hoping that fragments will amplify. By resolving the resulting patterns, a semi-unique profile can be gleaned from an RAPD reaction.
No knowledge of the DNA sequence of the targeted genome is required, as the primers will bind somewhere in the sequence, but it is not certain exactly where. This makes the method popular for comparing the DNA of biological systems that have not had the attention of the scientific community, or in a system in which relatively, few DNA sequences are compared (it is not suitable for forming a DNA databank). Because it relies on a large, intact DNA template sequence, it has some limitations in the use of degraded DNA samples. Its resolving power is much lower than targeted, species-specific DNA comparison methods, such as short tandem repeats. In recent years, RAPD has been used to characterize, and trace, the phylogeny of diverse plant and animal species.
RAPD may refer to:
- RAPD "Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA"
- Marcus Gunn pupil "Relative Afferent Pupillary Defect"
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