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Practical applications of DNA genotyping in diagnostic pathology.

INTRODUCTION: Among various human tissue identity testing platforms, short tandem repeat (STR) genotyping has emerged as the most powerful and cost-effective method. Beyond forensic applications, tissue identity testing has become increasingly important in modern medical practice, in areas such as diagnostic pathology. Areas covered: A brief overview of various molecular/genetic techniques for identity testing is provided. This includes restriction fragment length polymorphism, single nucleotide polymorphism array and STR genotyping by multiplex PCR. Diagnostic applications of STR genotyping are covered in greater details: genotyping diagnosis of gestational trophoblastic disease, resolving tissue specimen mislabeling or histologic contaminant or 'floaters', bone marrow engraftment/chimerism analysis and interrogation of the primary source of malignancy in patients receiving organ donation. Four clinical cases are then presented to further illustrate these important clinical applications along with discussion of the interpretation, limitations, and pitfalls of STR genotyping. Expert commentary: STR genotyping is currently the most applicable method of identity testing and has extended its role well into the practice of diagnostic pathology with novel and powerful applications beyond forensics.

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