Over the past five years, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) has emerged as one of the most versatile technologies for the analysis of genetic variations. With the benefit of novel polymer chemistries used for separation, the accuracy, sensitivity, and the throughput of DHPLC for DNA and RNA analysis have greatly improved. DHPLC has been adopted in many laboratories for the screening of mutations and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The ability of DHPLC to detect known and unknown mutations simultaneously has put this technology at the forefront of genetic analysis for a wide variety of diseases. In addition, the high sensitivity of DHPLC combined with the accuracy of the heteroduplex analysis has allowed the development of applications beyond the scope of traditional sequencing or genotyping, e.g., the early detection of cancer. This article reviews the methods, which made DHPLC a widely used tool for diagnosis in molecular genetics and pharmacogenetics. The article provides an overview of current applications in these fields and points to novel applications in areas like epigenetics and the analysis of heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA, in which DHPLC is becoming the leading technology.
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