Fluorescent duplex allele-specific PCR and amplicon melting for rapid homogeneous mtDNA haplogroup H screening and sensitive mixture detection

Niederstätter,H.; Parson,W.
BACKGROUND: For large scale studies aiming at a better understanding of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), sequence variation in particular mt haplogroups (hgs) and population structure, reliable low-cost high-throughput genotyping assays are needed. Furthermore, methods facilitating sensitive mixture detection and relative quantification of allele proportions are indispensable for the study of heteroplasmy, mitochondrial sequence evolution, and mitochondrial disorders. Here the properties of a homogeneous competitive duplex allele specific PCR (ARMS) assay were scrutinized in the light of these requirements. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A duplex ARMS assay amplifying either the ancestral mtDNA 2706G allele (non-hg H samples) or the derived 7028C allele (hg H samples) in the presence of SYBR Green fluorescent reporter dye was developed and characterized. Product detection, allele calling, and hg inference were based on the amplicon-characteristic melting-point temperatures obtained with on-line post-PCR fluorescent dissociation curve analysis (DCA). The analytical window of the assay covered at least 5 orders of magnitude of template DNA input with a detection limit in the low picogram range of genomic DNA. A set of forensically relevant test specimens was analyzed successfully. The presence of mtDNA mixtures was detected over a broad range of input DNA amounts and mixture ratios, and the estimation of allele proportions in samples with known total mtDNA content was feasible with limitations. A qualified DNA analyst successfully analyzed approximately 2,200 DNA extracts within three regular working days, without using robotic lab-equipment. By performing the amplification on-line, the assay also facilitated absolute mtDNA quantification. CONCLUSIONS: Although this assay was developed just for a particular purpose, the approach is general in that it is potentially suitable in a broad variety of assay-layouts for many other applications, including the analysis of mixtures. Homogeneous ARMS-DCA is a valuable tool for large-volume studies targeting small numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)
PLoS ONE 2009
Tags: EMPOP; mtDNA; mtDNA technology; rtPCR
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