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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Molecular Testing for Cervical Cancer. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Hybridization is the base pairing of complementary strands of RNA and DNA. The complementary base pairing may be between two strands of DNA, two strands of RNA, or a strand of DNA and a strand of RNA. In most clinical molecular testing, one of the strands is synthetic and the resulting double-stranded nucleic acid is referred to as a hybrid. Often, the synthetic nucleic acid strand is short and is then called an oligonucleotide. A probe is another name for a synthetic strand or fragment of nucleic acid that hybridizes; probes often have attached labels, used to identify the complementary sequence.