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DNA copy number alterations, including entire chromosomal changes and small interstitial DNA amplifications and deletions, characterize the development of cancer. These changes usually affect the expression of target genes and subsequently the function of the target proteins. Since the completion of the human genome project, the capacity to comprehensively analyze the human cancer genome has expanded significantly. Techniques such as digital karyotyping have been developed to allow for the detection of DNA copy number alterations in cancer at the whole-genome scale. When compared with conventional methods such as spectral karyotyping, representational difference analysis, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), or the more recent array CGH; digital karyotyping provides an evaluation of copy number of genetic material at higher resolution. Digital karyotyping has therefore promised to enhance our understanding of the cancer genome. This article provides an overview of digital karyotyping including the principle of the technology and its applications in identifying potential oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.
KeywordsMedulloblastoma Homozygous Deletion Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Array Ovarian Serous Carcinoma
This study was supported by the US Department of Defense grant (W81XWH-05-1-0004).
The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.
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