Random Primers are a mixture of oligonucleotides representing all possible sequence for that size. Random Primers can be used to prime synthesis in oligo-labeling similar to using hexamers (1,2) and cDNA synthesis. Random prime labeling yields high specific activity labeled DNA probe which can be used for all southern, northern and in situ hybridization studies. Random Primers can be also used similar to using hexamers in cDNA synthesis in combination with oligo d(T) to yield more 5' end cDNA sequence. Recently random primers have been used to detect DNA polymorphism. These polymorphisms, simply detected as DNA segments which amplify from one parent but not the other, are inherited in a Mendelian fashion and can be used to construct genetic maps in a variety of species. The authors suggested that these polymorphisms be called RAPD (pronounced RAPID) makers, after Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (3).
References 1. Feinberg, A.P. & Vogelstein, B. (1983) Anal. Biochem. 132:6-13. 2. Feinberg, A.P. & Vogelstein, B. (1984) Anal. Biochem. 137:266-267. 3. Williams J. G., Kubelik A.R., Livak K.J., Rafalski J.A. & Tingey S.V. (1990) Nucleic Acid Res. 18(22):6531-5.