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J Biomol Tech. 2011 Apr;22(1):5-9.

Comparison of DNA extraction methods from small samples of newborn screening cards suitable for retrospective perinatal viral research.

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  • 1Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1st Floor, Queen Victoria Bldg., 72 King William Rd., North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia.


Reliable detection of viral DNA in stored newborn screening cards (NSC) would give important insight into possible silent infection during pregnancy and around birth. We sought a DNA extraction method with sufficient sensitivity to detect low copy numbers of viral DNA from small punch samples of NSC. Blank NSC were spotted with seronegative EDTA-blood and seropositive EBV EDTA-blood. DNA was extracted with commercial and noncommercial DNA extraction methods and quantified on a spectrofluorometer using a PicoGreen dsDNA quantification kit. Serial dilutions of purified viral DNA controls determined the sensitivity of the amplification protocol, and seropositive EBV EDTA-blood amplified by nested PCR (nPCR) validated the DNA extraction methods. There were considerable differences between the commercial and noncommercial DNA extraction methods (P=0.014; P=0.016). Commercial kits compared favorably, but the QIamp DNA micro kit with an added forensic filter step was marginally more sensitive. The mean DNA yield from this method was 3 ng/μl. The limit of detection was 10 viral genome copies in a 50-μl reaction. EBV nPCR detection in neat and 1:10 diluted DNA extracts could be replicated reliably. We conclude that the QIamp Micro DNA extraction method with the added forensic spin-filter step was suitable for retrospective DNA viral assays from NSC.


cytomegalovirus; dried blood spots; nPCR

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