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Anal Chem. 2001 Sep 15;73(18):4514-21.

Genotyping of simple and compound short tandem repeat loci using electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23284, USA.


The utility of electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (ESI-FIICR) mass spectrometry as a new approach for genotyping short tandem repeats (STRs) is demonstrated. STRs are currently valued as a powerful source of genetic information with repeats that range in structure from simple to hypervariable. Two tetranucleotide STR loci were chosen to evaluate ESI-FTICR mass spectrometry as a tool for genotyping: HUM-TH01, a simple STR with nonconsensus alleles, and vWA, a compound STR with nonconsensus alleles. For HUM-TH01, the genotype (i.e., repeat number of each allele) was determined for each of 30 individuals using mass measurements of double-stranded amplicons. Low-intensity peaks observed in the spectra of amplicons derived from heterozygous individuals were identified by mass as heteroduplexes that had formed between nonhomologous strands. Mass measurement of the double-stranded vWA amplicon was not sufficient for determining whether the individual was homozygous for allele subtype 18 or 18' since the amplicons differ by only 0.99 Da. Therefore, single-stranded amplicons were generated by incorporating a phosphorylated primer, prepared using T4 polynucleotide kinase, into the PCR phase and subsequently digesting the bottom strand using lambda-exonuclease. Accurate mass measurements were obtained for the single-stranded amplicons using internal calibration and the addition of a correction factor to adjust for the natural variation of isotopic abundances, confirming that the individual is homozygous for allele 18. Our results clearly demonstrate that ESI-FTICR mass spectrometry is a powerful approach to characterize both simple and compound STRs beyond the capabilities of electrophoretic technologies.

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