viral probe -->
nucleic acid probe
medical dictionary

A nucleic acid fragment, labelled by a radioisotope, biotin, etc., that is complementary to a sequence in another nucleic acid (fragment) and that will, by hydrogen binding to the latter, locate or identify it and be detected; a diagnostic technique based on the fact that every species of microbe possesses some unique nucleic acid sequences which differentiate it from all others, and thus can be used as identifying markers or "fingerprints."

(05 Mar 2000)