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Elife. 2017 Nov 28;6. pii: e27798. doi: 10.7554/eLife.27798.

Rapid re-identification of human samples using portable DNA sequencing.

Author information

Department of Computer Science, New York Genome Center, New York, United States.
New York Genome Center, New York, United States.
Data Science Institute, Columbia University, New York, United States.
Department of Biology, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University, New York, United States.
Department of Computer Science, Fu Foundation School of Engineering, Columbia University, New York, United States.


DNA re-identification is used for a broad suite of applications, ranging from cell line authentication to forensics. However, current re-identification schemes suffer from high latency and limited access. Here, we describe a rapid, inexpensive, and portable strategy to robustly re-identify human DNA called 'MinION sketching'. MinION sketching requires as few as 3 min of sequencing and 60-300 random SNPs to re-identify a sample enabling near real-time applications of DNA re-identification. Our method capitalizes on the rapidly growing availability of genomic reference data for cell lines, tissues in biobanks, and individuals. This empowers the application of MinION sketching in research and clinical settings for periodic cell line and tissue authentication. Importantly, our method enables considerably faster and more robust cell line authentication relative to current practices and could help to minimize the amount of irreproducible research caused by mix-ups and contamination in human cell and tissue cultures.


DNA fingerprinting; cell biology; cell line authentication; evolutionary biology; forensics; genomics; human; nanopore sequencing; re-identification

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