An integrated microfluidic device for DNA purification and PCR amplification of STR fragments. Forensic Sci Int Genet 4:178-186

Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
Forensic Science International: Genetics (Impact Factor: 4.6). 04/2010; 4(3):178-86. DOI: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2009.02.010
Source: PubMed


This work presents the integration of DNA extraction from complex samples and PCR amplification of STR fragments in a valveless, glass microdevice, using commercially available kits and instrumentation. DNA extraction was performed using a microchannel packed with a silica solid phase and a standard syringe pump as a single pressure source driving the extraction process, followed by integrated, online microchip amplification of STR fragments in a total volume of 1.2 microL. Reported characteristics important to this work include the capacity of the device for purification of DNA from a complex biological sample (whole blood) and the timing of DNA elution from the silica solid phase for successful downstream PCR amplification by placement the microdevice into a conventional thermocycler. Potential application of this microdevice to forensic genetic analysis was demonstrated through the preliminary extraction of DNA from semen, followed by an integrated, multiplexed, on-chip amplification that yielded detectable STR amplicons. By utilizing conventional laboratory equipment, the device presented exploits the benefits of microfluidic systems without complex control systems.

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    • "Several groups are working toward fully integrated systems for STR profile generation. Bienvenue et al. [11] reported on the partial integration of the process, incorporating DNA purification and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification on a microfluidic device. Their chip is fabricated from glass, requires complex manual manipulations (for example, placing mineral oil over microfluidic PCR chambers), and does not incorporate reagent handling; these are all challenges for developing a field-forward system. "
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    ABSTRACT: The generation of short tandem repeat profiles, also referred to as 'DNA typing,' is not currently performed outside the laboratory because the process requires highly skilled technical operators and a controlled laboratory environment and infrastructure with several specialized instruments. The goal of this work was to develop a fully integrated system for the automated generation of short tandem repeat profiles from buccal swab samples, to improve forensic laboratory process flow as well as to enable short tandem repeat profile generation to be performed in police stations and in field-forward military, intelligence, and homeland security settings. An integrated system was developed consisting of an injection-molded microfluidic BioChipSet cassette, a ruggedized instrument, and expert system software. For each of five buccal swabs, the system purifies DNA using guanidinium-based lysis and silica binding, amplifies 15 short tandem repeat loci and the amelogenin locus, electrophoretically separates the resulting amplicons, and generates a profile. No operator processing of the samples is required, and the time from swab insertion to profile generation is 84 minutes. All required reagents are contained within the BioChipSet cassette; these consist of a lyophilized polymerase chain reaction mix and liquids for purification and electrophoretic separation.Profiles obtained from fully automated runs demonstrate that the integrated system generates concordant short tandem repeat profiles. The system exhibits single-base resolution from 100 to greater than 500 bases, with inter-run precision with a standard deviation of +/-0.05 - 0.10 bases for most alleles. The reagents are stable for at least 6 months at 22[degree sign]C, and the instrument has been designed and tested to Military Standard 810F for shock and vibration ruggedization. A nontechnical user can operate the system within or outside the laboratory. The integrated system represents the first generation of a turnkey approach to short tandem repeat profiling and has the potential for use in both the field (for example, police booking stations, the battlefield, borders and ports) and the forensic laboratory.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Investigative Genetics
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    • "Reported attempts to combine amplification and quantitative readout on a probe array have been limited by the use of common TaqMan reagents and the inherently limited chemical compatibility of conditions required for solid phase hybridization and bulk volume target amplification [20]. Despite the fact that many devices and assay formats have been developed to integrate the required steps into a single disposable device [21]–[24], none of them have become commercially viable due to the inherent complexity of the assay formats used. "
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    ABSTRACT: State of the art molecular diagnostic tests are based on the sensitive detection and quantification of nucleic acids. However, currently established diagnostic tests are characterized by elaborate and expensive technical solutions hindering the development of simple, affordable and compact point-of-care molecular tests. The described competitive reporter monitored amplification allows the simultaneous amplification and quantification of multiple nucleic acid targets by polymerase chain reaction. Target quantification is accomplished by real-time detection of amplified nucleic acids utilizing a capture probe array and specific reporter probes. The reporter probes are fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides that are complementary to the respective capture probes on the array and to the respective sites of the target nucleic acids in solution. Capture probes and amplified target compete for reporter probes. Increasing amplicon concentration leads to decreased fluorescence signal at the respective capture probe position on the array which is measured after each cycle of amplification. In order to observe reporter probe hybridization in real-time without any additional washing steps, we have developed a mechanical fluorescence background displacement technique. The system presented in this paper enables simultaneous detection and quantification of multiple targets. Moreover, the presented fluorescence background displacement technique provides a generic solution for real time monitoring of binding events of fluorescently labelled ligands to surface immobilized probes. With the model assay for the detection of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and 2 (HIV 1/2), we have been able to observe the amplification kinetics of five targets simultaneously and accommodate two additional hybridization controls with a simple instrument set-up. The ability to accommodate multiple controls and targets into a single assay and to perform the assay on simple and robust instrumentation is a prerequisite for the development of novel molecular point of care tests.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Significant efforts are thus being devoted to the development of methods enabling rapid generation of STR profiles. Fast, or rapid, PCR [1-5], direct profiling circumventing DNA extraction [2,4,6], and microdevices with portable modules for on-site sample processing [3,7-9] are emerging alternatives to traditional approaches. Some protocols are already being offered to investigators for specific situations requiring quick actions and for rapid screening of stains [2]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Traditional PCR methods for forensic STR genotyping require approximately 2.5 to 4 hours to complete, contributing a significant portion of the time required to process forensic DNA samples. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a fast PCR protocol that enabled amplification of the 16 loci targeted by the AmpFℓSTR® Identifiler® primer set, allowing decreased cycling times. Fast PCR conditions were achieved by substituting the traditional Taq polymerase for SpeedSTAR™ HS DNA polymerase which is designed for fast PCR, by upgrading to a thermal cycler with faster temperature ramping rates and by modifying cycling parameters (less time at each temperature) and adopting a two-step PCR approach. The total time required for the optimized protocol is 26 min. A total of 147 forensically relevant DNA samples were amplified using the fast PCR protocol for Identifiler. Heterozygote peak height ratios were not affected by fast PCR conditions, and full profiles were generated for single-source DNA amounts between 0.125 ng and 2.0 ng. Individual loci in profiles produced with the fast PCR protocol exhibited average n-4 stutter percentages ranging from 2.5 ± 0.9% (THO1) to 9.9 ± 2.7% (D2S1338). No increase in non-adenylation or other amplification artefacts was observed. Minor contributor alleles in two-person DNA mixtures were reliably discerned. Low level cross-reactivity (monomorphic peaks) was observed with some domestic animal DNA. The fast PCR protocol presented offers a feasible alternative to current amplification methods and could aid in reducing the overall time in STR profile production or could be incorporated into a fast STR genotyping procedure for time-sensitive situations.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Investigative Genetics
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