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Clinical Trial
. 2012 Jan;32(1):3-9.
doi: 10.1002/pd.2922. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Selective Analysis of Cell-Free DNA in Maternal Blood for Evaluation of Fetal Trisomy

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Free PMC article
Clinical Trial

Selective Analysis of Cell-Free DNA in Maternal Blood for Evaluation of Fetal Trisomy

Andrew B Sparks et al. Prenat Diagn. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: To develop a novel prenatal assay based on selective analysis of cell-free DNA in maternal blood for evaluation of fetal Trisomy 21 (T21) and Trisomy 18 (T18).

Methods: Two hundred ninety-eight pregnancies, including 39 T21 and seven T18 confirmed fetal aneuploidies, were analyzed using a novel, highly multiplexed assay, termed digital analysis of selected regions (DANSR™). Cell-free DNA from maternal blood samples was analyzed using DANSR assays for loci on chromosomes 21 and 18. Products from 96 separate patients were pooled and sequenced together. A standard Z-test of chromosomal proportions was used to distinguish aneuploid samples from average-risk pregnancy samples. DANSR aneuploidy discrimination was evaluated at various sequence depths.

Results: At the lowest sequencing depth, corresponding to 204,000 sequencing counts per sample, average-risk cases where distinguished from T21 and T18 cases, with Z statistics for all cases exceeding 3.6. Increasing the sequencing depth to 410,000 counts per sample substantially improved separation of aneuploid and average-risk cases. A further increase to 620,000 counts per sample resulted in only marginal improvement. This depth of sequencing represents less than 5% of that required by massively parallel shotgun sequencing approaches.

Conclusion: Digital analysis of selected regions enables highly accurate, cost efficient, and scalable noninvasive fetal aneuploidy assessment.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Schematic of DANSR assay. Arrows and dots indicate 3′OH and 5′PO4 moieties, respectively. When the left, middle, and right ligation oligos hybridize to their cognate genomic DNA (gDNA) sequences, their termini form two nicks. Ligation of these nicks results in the creation of an amplifiable template using the indicated UPCR primers. UPCR with 96 distinct right UPCR primers enables pooling and simultaneous sequencing of 96 different UPCR products on a single lane. The UPCR primers also contain left (TAATGATACGGCGACCACCGA) and right (ATCTCGTATGCCGTCTTCTGCTTGA) cluster tail sequences that support cluster amplification. Sequencing of the locus specific 56 bases and the seven sample specific bases are accomplished using read one (GATCTACACCGGCGTTATGCGTCGAGAC) and read two primers (TCAAGCAGAAGACGGCATACGAGAT) respectively
Figure 2
Figure 2
Chromosomal locations of selected loci. The selected loci are plotted as vertical lines against the Genome Reference Consortium human build 37 chromosome 21 in panel A and chromosome 18 in panel B. The plots’ physical spans are indicated with boxes on their respective karyograms
Figure 3
Figure 3
T21 Z statistics at various median per-sample counts. At each median per-sample count, the average-risk samples (open circles) were normally distributed around zero, while the T21 samples (crosses) were at least three standard deviations away. The separation distance was calculated by taking the difference (in Z statistic) between the 5th percentile of the affected samples and the 95th percentile of the average-risk samples. When the median per-sample count was 204 000 (a), the separation distance between average-risk and T21 samples was 4.2. When the median per-sample count was increased to 410 000 (b) and 620 000 (c), the resulting separation distances increased to 5.2 and 5.4, respectively
Figure 4
Figure 4
T18 Z statistics at various median per-sample counts. At a median per-sample count of 204 000 (a), the separation distance between average-risk samples (open circles) and T18 samples (triangles) was 4.9. When the median per-sample count was increased to 410 000 (b) and 620 000(c), the separation distances were both 5.2. When the median per-sample count was 204 000, one average-risk sample received a Z statistic of 3.005 (a; black dot, arrow). This sample subsequently received a Z statistic of less than three when we increased the median per-sample count to 410 000

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