A simple method to overcome the inhibitory effect of heparin on DNA amplification

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-5
Number of pages3
JournalCellular Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

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