A simple reproducible protocol for detecting multiple copy human genes and viral DNA in routine formalin fixed paraffin embedded tonsil and brain, by in situ hybridisation with biotinylated probes, is described. The protocol consists of digestion of formalin fixed paraffin sections, with 0.4% pepsin in 0.01 M hydrochloric acid for one hour at 37 degrees C, followed by hybridisation with biotinylated probes. The biotinylated probes used for establishing the conditions for in situ localisation of DNA were total placental DNA (TG1), pHY 2.1 (a Y chromosome probe), and herpes simplex virus I and II. In human male tonsil TG1 labelled all nuclei and pHY 2.1 reacted only with nuclear Y bodies. In herpes encephalitis the virus was detected in some glial cells and neurones.
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