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Modifying the Oligo Backbone - Advice for PNA and UNA Chemistry

Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, December 09, 2013
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Link Technologies provides key protocols for oligonucleotide synthesis and modification.

Link Technologies Ltd is providing scientists with a complete resource for oligonucleotide synthesis and modification.

Spanning the breadth of oligo chemistry, the Link Technologies 2013/14 Product Guide leads users through practical methods and application-based advice for total assurance in reagent selection and performance of the resulting oligos.

Featuring specialist sections, including backbone modification strategies using Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) and Unlocked Nucleic Acid (UNA) reagents, the guide provides scientists with the information required to produce oligos that are suitable for both routine and highly specific application tasks. The resource is free to request as a hard copy or to download from

Modification of the sugar-phosphate backbone with nucleic acid derivatives, including PNA and UNA, alters the structure and subsequent properties of the oligo. For antisense applications this is often favourable as PNA oligos, for example, display tighter binding to complementary DNA and RNA sequences, and with greater specificity.

In this way, PNA-modified oligos can provide a flexible tool for use in genetic diagnostics, and can also be applied more broadly to techniques such as in situ hybridization and PCR clamping. Contrastingly UNA modifications act to decrease the binding affinity with complementary strands, and so UNA incorporation has been exploited in siRNA-based silencing technology for example, to protect the siRNA from serum degradation without compromising potency.

For scientists looking to take advantage of these modified properties, the Link Technologies Product Guide collates referenced background information, established protocols and application notes, enabling the successful and confident synthesis of such oligos.

Featuring over 80 pages of protocols and quick-reference data summaries, the 2013/14 Product Guide has been produced by Link Technologies to provide invaluable technical and functional support for lab scientists using nucleic acid chemistry.

Amy Barker, Research Technician at the University of Leeds, explains: “My research group is concerned with developing RNA aptamers against various biological targets, and so in my role, keeping up to date with the latest advancements in nucleic acid modifications and reagents is vital. For me, the Link Technologies Product Guide is extremely useful - especially the protocols section - but the handy working examples and further external referencing are also an easy port-of-call when I’m required to synthesize new oligos.”

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