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J Mass Spectrom. 2002 Oct;37(10):1039-50.

Detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry: validation of a one-well assay and quantitative pooling studies.

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Advion BioSciences, Inc., 30 Brown Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are currently being mapped and databased at a remarkable pace, providing a viable means for understanding disease susceptibility, differential drug response and human evolution. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for SNP genotyping technologies that are simple, rapid, cost effective and readily amenable to automation for high-throughput analyses. In this study, we improved the Survivor Assay, a SNP detection method based on electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), with several developments. One improvement is the development of a one-well assay, requiring no off-line purification of the polymerase chain reaction product, achieved by simple addition of reagent solution into a single well. Another is the on-line separation of magnesium and dideoxynucleotides using an in-house made monolithic metal chelating column, eliminating any off-line sample preparation prior to mass spectrometric analysis. Here the Survivor Assay is extended from a proof-of-principle concept to a validated method by genotyping six SNPs from five different regions of human genomic DNA in 55 individual samples with 100% accuracy. This improved Survivor Assay eliminates the tedious and time-consuming steps of sample preparation, minimizes sample handing and offers a high-throughput analysis of SNPs by ESI-MS. The current combined preparation and analysis time is 2 min per sample. The simplicity of this method has potential for full automation and parallel chromatography and, thus, reduced analysis time. In addition, we have adapted the Survivor Assay for quantitative SNP analysis in pooled DNA samples. The capabilities and sensitivity of this approach were evaluated. We demonstrate that an allele occurring at a frequency of 2% can consistently be quantitated.

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