Cloning techniques allow the engineering and production of highly purified DNA. Further advances in molecular biology have provided the means to identify DNA sequences in a rapid fashion. Sequencing methods can identify mutations, deletions, polymorphisms, or confirm a known genetic sequence. The use of these techniques in clinical medicine has made it possible to accurately diagnose infectious diseases and determine the molecular etiology of many genetic disorders and malignancies.
In this study, DNA extracted from archival, celloidin-embedded temporal bone sections has been cloned and sequenced using these techniques. We amplified, cloned, and sequenced varicella-zoster viral DNA extracted from archival temporal bone sections from patients who had herpes zoster oticus. The application of cloning and sequencing techniques to DNA extracted from archival temporal bones provides the methodology to study temporal bone pathology at the molecular level.