Systematic comparison of three methods for fragmentation of long-range PCR products for next generation sequencing

PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28240. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028240. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies are gaining importance in the routine clinical diagnostic setting. It is thus desirable to simplify the workflow for high-throughput diagnostics. Fragmentation of DNA is a crucial step for preparation of template libraries and various methods are currently known. Here we evaluated the performance of nebulization, sonication and random enzymatic digestion of long-range PCR products on the results of NGS. All three methods produced high-quality sequencing libraries for the 454 platform. However, if long-range PCR products of different length were pooled equimolarly, sequence coverage drastically dropped for fragments below 3,000 bp. All three methods performed equally well with regard to overall sequence quality (PHRED) and read length. Enzymatic fragmentation showed highest consistency between three library preparations but performed slightly worse than sonication and nebulization with regard to insertions/deletions in the raw sequence reads. After filtering for homopolymer errors, enzymatic fragmentation performed best if compared to the results of classic Sanger sequencing. As the overall performance of all three methods was equal with only minor differences, a fragmentation method can be chosen solely according to lab facilities, feasibility and experimental design.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / genetics
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Sequence Deletion / genetics