BACKGROUND: Genetic material from large patient cohorts is increasingly central to translational genetic research. However, patient blood samples are a finite resource and their supply and storage are often dictated by clinical and not research protocols. Our experience supports difficulty in amplifying DNA from blood stored in herparin; a scenario that other researchers may have or will encounter. This technical note describes a number of simple steps that enable successful PCR amplification.
METHODS: DNA was extracted using the Illustra Nucleon Genomic DNA Extraction Kit. PCR amplification was attempted using a number of commercially available PCR mastermixes.
RESULTS: PCR DNA amplification failed using ReddyMix™ PCR Master Mix, Thermo-Start® (Thermo Scientific Inc. US) and ZymoTaq™ (Zymo research, US) PCR mastermixes, as demonstrated absence of products on gel electrophoresis. However, using the Invitrogen™ (Thermo Scientific Inc., US) Platinum® Taq DNA Polymerase, PCR products were identified on a 1% agarose gel for all samples. PCR products were cleaned with ExoSAP-IT® (Affymetrix Inc., US) and a sequencing reaction undertaken using a standard Big Dye protocol. Subsequent genotyping was successful for all samples for alleles at the CDH1 locus.
CONCLUSION: From our experience a standard phenol/chloroform purification and using the Invitrogen™ Platinum® Taq has enabled the amplification of whole blood samples taken into lithium heparin and stored frozen for up to a month. This simple method may enable investigators to utilise blood taken in lithium heparin for DNA extraction and amplification.