Hybridization is a common step of many, if not most, molecular biology protocols. For example: northern and Southern analysis, PCR/qPCR, cloning, in situ hybridization, array analysis, gene knockdown, and next generation sequencing (NGS).
The criteria for hybridization are based on nucleic acid strand melting. Therefore, an understanding of melting temperature (Tm) provides information on when and how the DNA or RNA strands are going to hybridize and defines the rules for hybridization. It is very important to understand this process so that you can better design and optimize the oligos for your experiments.
This is why Integrated DNA Technologies have put together this nice article so that you can understand Tm better and hopefully design better oligonucleotide based experiments.
This is probably a good time to mention IDT’s useful OligoAnalyzer online tool.