Background: Massively parallel sequencing systems continue to improve on data output, while leaving labor-intensive library preparations a potential bottleneck. Efforts are currently under way to relieve the crucial and time-consuming work to prepare DNA for high-throughput sequencing.
Methodology/principal findings: In this study, we demonstrate an automated parallel library preparation protocol using generic carboxylic acid-coated superparamagnetic beads and polyethylene glycol precipitation as a reproducible and flexible method for DNA fragment length separation. With this approach the library preparation for DNA sequencing can easily be adjusted to a desired fragment length. The automated protocol, here demonstrated using the GS FLX Titanium instrument, was compared to the standard manual library preparation, showing higher yield, throughput and great reproducibility. In addition, 12 libraries were prepared and uniquely tagged in parallel, and the distribution of sequence reads between these indexed samples could be improved using quantitative PCR-assisted pooling.
Conclusions/significance: We present a novel automated procedure that makes it possible to prepare 36 indexed libraries per person and day, which can be increased to up to 96 libraries processed simultaneously. The yield, speed and robust performance of the protocol constitute a substantial improvement to present manual methods, without the need of extensive equipment investments. The described procedure enables a considerable efficiency increase for small to midsize sequencing centers.