High-throughput SNP detection by using DNA pooling and denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC)

Hum Genet. 2000 Nov;107(5):483-7. doi: 10.1007/s004390000396.


One of the critical steps in the positional cloning of a complex disease gene involves association analysis between a phenotype and a set of densely spaced diallelic markers, typically single nucleotide repeats (SNPs), covering the region of interest. However, the effort and cost of detecting sufficient numbers of SNPs across relatively large physical distances represents a significant rate-limiting step. We have explored DNA pooling, in conjunction with denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC), as a possible strategy for augmenting the efficiency, economy, and throughput of SNP detection. DHPLC is traditionally used to detect variants in polymerase chain reaction products containing both allelic forms of a polymorphism (e.g., heterozygotes or a 1:1 mix of both alleles) via heteroduplex separation and thereby requires separate analyses of multiple individual test samples. We have adapted this technology to identify variants in pooled DNA. To evaluate the utility and sensitivity of this approach, we constructed DNA pools comprised of 20 previously genotyped individuals with a frequency representation of 0%-50% for the variant allele. Mutation detection was performed by using temperature-modulated heteroduplex formation/DHPLC and dye-terminator sequencing. Using DHPLC, we could consistently detect SNPs at lower than 5% frequency, corresponding to the detection of one variant allele in a pool of 20 alleles. In contrast, fluorescent sequencing detected variants in the same pools only if the frequency of the less common allele was at least 10%. We conclude that DNA pooling of samples for DHPLC analysis is an effective way to increase throughput efficiency of SNP detection.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arizona
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • DNA / blood
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / genetics
  • Leukocytes
  • Microsatellite Repeats*
  • Nucleic Acid Denaturation
  • Nucleic Acid Heteroduplexes / chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid Heteroduplexes / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymorphism, Genetic


  • Nucleic Acid Heteroduplexes
  • DNA