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Transfusion. 2013 Nov;53(11 Suppl 2):2892-8. doi: 10.1111/trf.12172. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Next-generation sequencing: proof of concept for antenatal prediction of the fetal Kell blood group phenotype from cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Immunology, Center for Genomic Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Wilhelm Johannsen Center for Functional Genome Research, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.



Maternal immunization against KEL1 of the Kell blood group system can have serious adverse consequences for the fetus as well as the newborn baby. Therefore, it is important to determine the phenotype of the fetus to predict whether it is at risk. We present data that show the feasibility of predicting the fetal KEL1 phenotype using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology.


The KEL1/2 single-nucleotide polymorphism was polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified with one adjoining base, and the PCR product was sequenced using a genome analyzer (GAIIx, Illumina); several millions of PCR sequences were analyzed.


The results demonstrated the feasibility of diagnosing the fetal KEL1 or KEL2 blood group from cell-free DNA purified from maternal plasma.


This method requires only one primer pair, and the large amount of sequence information obtained allows well for statistical analysis of the data. This general approach can be integrated into current laboratory practice and has numerous applications. Besides DNA-based predictions of blood group phenotypes, platelet phenotypes, or sickle cell anemia, and the determination of zygosity, various conditions of chimerism could also be examined using this approach. To our knowledge, this is the first report focused on antenatal blood group determination using NGS.

© 2013 Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Copenhagen. Transfusion © 2013 American Association of Blood Banks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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