Key words Short tandem repeats (STRs)
DNA fragment analysis
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract DNA separations which traditionally have been performed by slab gel or capillary electrophoresis, may now be conducted via time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS). The advantages of using a mass spectrometry approach for short tandem repeat (STR) characterization include a dramatic increase in both the speed of analysis and the accuracy of mass measurements. We report here typing of the STR loci TH01, TPOX, and CSF1PO as well as the sex-typing marker amelogenin using TOF-MS. Allelic ladders, which are typically used with electrophoretic separation systems to correct for mobility differences of DNA fragments under various conditions, are not needed for accurate genotyping with TOF-MS. A mass precision of 0.1% RSD, which corresponds to approximately 0.1 nucleotide, was routinely observed. Mass accuracies were better than a fraction of a single nucleotide when a daily mass calibration was used. STR microvariants, such as the TH01 allele 9.3, could be detected and resolved from alleles which differ by as little as a single base. In addition, the smaller PCR product sizes (55– 125 bp) examined in this study have the potential advantage of being more successful when amplifying forensic samples with degraded DNA.
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