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Circulating DNA for molecular diagnostics 

Circulating DNA for molecular diagnostics
Circulating DNA for molecular diagnostics

Y.M. Dennis Lo

, and Rossa W.K. Chiu

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date: 03 March 2021

Short fragments of cell-free DNA are released into the plasma when cells die. In patients with cancer some of this circulating DNA is released by tumour cells; in pregnant women some is derived from the fetus; and increased amounts are found in many pathological conditions associated with cell death. In each of these circumstances, analysis of cell-free DNA can provide useful clinical information (e.g. detection or monitoring of cancer, determination of mutation status of a fetus). With further improvement in analytical technologies and developments of new markers, it is likely that the application of circulating cell-free DNA and cell-free RNA species in molecular diagnostics will increase in the future.

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