Genomic DNA isolation from amplified product for recursive genotyping of low-template DNA samples
Iacona, Joseph Robert, Jr.
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Biological evidence may contain any number of cells in any proportion. Extreme low-template DNA samples are often very difficult to interpret due to complex signal or peaks which may be indistinguishable from baseline noise. Current solutions focus on increasing the amount of amplicon detected by adjusting PCR cycle number or capillary electrophoresis injection parameters. Consensus profiling is an additional option. However, the aforementioned solutions are often not helpful for extreme low-template samples due to the high occurrence of allelic drop-out. Additionally, PCR is a destructive technique that causes one amplification to completely exhaust this type of sample, making further typing and analysis impossible. Therefore, a technique that allows for the re-generation of a DNA template in order to amplify it multiple times would be an extremely useful tool. This study outlines the development of a method that allows for the recursive amplification of a DNA sample. Amplification was performed using biotinylated primers for an STR locus and the resulting product was cleaned using streptavidin-coated magnetic beads to sequester the amplicons. Subsequent centrifugal filtration was used to remove the remaining PCR components, thus isolating the original genomic DNA. Re-amplification was then successfully performed at a different STR locus. Though successful, multiple run-throughs of the method indicated retention of signal from the original amplification as well as significant genomic DNA loss during the process. This study outlines experiments seeking to characterize the cause(s) of these imperfections in order to effectively direct method optimization. A computer generated dynamic model was also created and used to simulate the recursive amplification process to assist in development. When optimized, it is expected that recursive amplification can significantly reduce the difficulties associated with low-template DNA analysis and eradicate the concept of an ‘exhaustive’ DNA sample.
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