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Single molecule detection in nanofluidic digital array enables accurate measurement of DNA copy number

Bhat, S., Herrmann, J., Armishaw, P., Corbisier, P., Emslie, K.R.

Digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a promising technique for estimating target DNA copy number. PCR solution is distributed throughout numerous partitions, and following amplification, target DNA copy number is estimated based on the proportion of partitions containing amplified DNA. Here, we identify approaches for obtaining reliable digital PCR data. Single molecule amplification efficiency was significantly improved following fragmentation of total DNA and bias in copy number estimates reduced by analysis of short intact target DNA fragments. Random and independent distribution of target DNA molecules throughout partitions, which is critical to accurate digital PCR measurement, was demonstrated by spatial distribution analysis. The estimated relative uncertainty for target DNA concentration was under 6% when analyzing five digital panels comprising 765 partitions each, provided the panels contained an average of 212 to 3,365 template molecules. Partition volume was a major component of this uncertainty estimate. These findings can be applied to other digital PCR studies to improve confidence in such measurements.

Citation

Bhat, S., Herrmann, J., Armishaw, P., Corbisier, P., Emslie, K.R. "Single molecule detection in nanofluidic digital array enables accurate measurement of DNA copy number" Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2009): 457–67