Fluorescence in situ hybridization: Past, present and future

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409 Scopus citations


Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), the assay of choice for localization of specific nucleic acids sequences in native context, is a 20-year-old technology that has developed continuously. Over its maturation, various methodologies and modifications have been introduced to optimize the detection of DNA and RNA. The pervasiveness of this technique is largely because of its wide variety of applications and the relative ease of implementation and performance of in situ studies. Although the basic principles of FISH have remained unchanged, high-sensitivity detection, simultaneous assay of multiple species, and automated data collection and analysis have advanced the field significantly. The introduction of FISH surpassed previously available technology to become a foremost biological assay. Key methodological advances have allowed facile preparation of low-noise hybridization probes, and technological breakthroughs now permit multi-target visualization and quantitative analysis - both factors that have made FISH accessible to all and applicable to any investigation of nucleic acids. In the future, this technique is likely to have significant further impact on live-cell imaging and on medical diagnostic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2833-2838
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003


  • Computer image processing
  • DNA
  • FISH
  • Fluorescence
  • Hybridization
  • Imaging
  • Microscopy
  • RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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