Author(s): Shuber AP, Skoletsky J, Stern R, Handelin BL
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Abstract The identification of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene has led to the identification of more than 225 presumed disease-causing mutations at the locus. The diagnosis of cystic fibrosis or the carrier state by direct DNA analysis is hindered by this large number. A practical assay must be able to detect enough mutations to achieve clinically significant sensitivity. The use of allele-specific oligonucleotide probes is the most promising of the available methods. However, to date this has generally involved tedious probe-by-probe hybridizations, due to variations in the oligonucleotides' denaturation temperatures caused by differences in their G-C base-pair content. We have developed a rapid, cost-effective assay that simultaneously detects 12 CFTR mutations after multiplex polymerase-chain-reaction amplification of genomic DNA. The test may be readily extended to detect additional mutations at minimal increase in the cost per test or the turnaround time. We improve specificity and avoid the need for individual hybridizations by the use of tetramethylammonium chloride to virtually eliminate the effects of G-C differences. Coupled with non-invasive sample-collection methods, this is an immediately practical assay for cystic fibrosis. More generally, it will serve as a model for the development of diagnostic tests in other genetic disorders involving complex mutation analysis.
This article was published in Hum Mol Genet
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology