In the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, researchers from the University of Florence in Italy present a high-resolution melting protocol to screen for mutations in thyroid nodules. They use their high-resolution melting approach to screen for mutations in the KRAS, HRAS, NRAS, and BRAF oncogenes in thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsies, and using this approach, they found that 15 percent of their samples contained oncogene variants — similar to other reports — and they identified two samples with rare KRAS mutation that had not been linked to thyroid cancer before. "In addition to establishing the evident advantages of HRM prescreening in terms of time and economic improvement, this pilot study confirmed the accuracy of the proposed method. Complete concordance was found between the standard protocol, based on sequencing of all samples, and the HRM-based screening," the authors write.
Also in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, researchers led by the University of Houston's Richard Willson report on using a broadly sensitive RT-PCR approach coupled with mass spectrometry to identify dengue virus strains. Specifically, their protocol combines PCR with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight analysis of digested PCR fragments. Those results are then compared to a mass database of 2,517 strains of dengue. "The methodology was successfully demonstrated experimentally by identifying the serotypes of eight test strains using mosquito cell cultures infected with strains of all four serotypes and with full-length cDNA clones," Willson and his colleagues report.