Oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticle conjugates are employed to demonstrate selective colorimetric discrimination of a cystic fibrosis-related genetic mutation in a model oligonucleotide system. Specifically, three strand oligonucleotide complexes are employed, wherein two probe oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticle conjugates are linked together by a third target oligonucleotide strand bearing the chosen CF-related mutation. By monitoring the solution optical absorption behaviour of the complexes as a function of temperature, melting profiles may be accurately acquired and reproducibly compared. Following this method, fully complementary sequences are successfully distinguished from mismatched sequences, with single base mismatch resolution, for the V232D mutation. To extend the detection sensitivity of this oligonucleotide-nanoparticle conjugate assay, a novel and compact LED-based optical monitoring system capable of sub-picomole level colorimetric SNP discrimination is also demonstrated.