Hybridization is the pairing or annealing of two strands of DNA. Hybridization is therefore based on the formation of double stranded hybrids from single stranded nucleic acids. These double stranded hybrids form under precise conditions and are detected using probes.
A probe is a set of nucleic acids of known identity which seeks out the target of interest. Depending on the detection technique, probes and/or targets can either be labeled or unlabeled and the reaction can take place with one attached to a matrix or in solution, thus dividing the techniques into two broad categories: