The identification of novel sequence variants, which may be either disease-causing mutations or silent polymorphisms, in large numbers of samples is becoming the rate-limiting step in associating diseases with specific genes. This is particularly true in light of the imminent arrival of the complete reference sequence of the human genome. A number of techniques have been developed to analyze DNA samples for sequence variants rapidly. We describe a new technique, capillary-based conformation-sensitive gel electrophoresis (capillary CSGE) that transfers mutation detection from acrylamide gel to capillary electrophoresis. Capillary CSGE was able to detect 7/7 short insertion/deletions and 16/22 base substitutions in a series of random single-nucleotide polymorphisms and known variants in the lipoprotein lipase and BRCA2 genes. This technique has the potential to screen many megabases of DNA in a single day.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.