Long DOP-PCR of rare archival anthropological samples

A. V. Buchanan, G. M. Risch, M. Robichaux, S. T. Sherry, M. A. Batzer, K. M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The application of molecular DNA technologies to anthropological questions has meant that rare or archival samples of human remains, including blood, hair, and bone, can now be used as a source of material for genetic analysis. Often, these samples are irreplaceable, and/or yield very small quantities of DNA, so methods for preamplifying as much of the whole genome as possible would greatly enhance their usefulness. DOP-PCR (degenerate oligonucleotide-primed polymerase chain reaction) is an amplification method that uses a degenerate primer and very low initial annealing temperatures to amplify the whole genome. We adapted a published DOP-PCR protocol to long PCR enzyme and amplification conditions. The effectiveness of these modifications was tested by PCR amplification of DOP-PCR products at a mixture of genomic targets including 66 different microsatellites, 11 Alu insertion polymorphisms, and variable-length segments of the human lipoprotein lipase gene (LPL). The selected microsatellite markers were chosen to represent every chromosome, with expected product sizes ranging from 150 base pairs to 8000 base pairs in length, while the 22 Alu insertion polymorphisms were selected to reveal biases in the recovery of alleles of different sizes. To determine nucleotide sequence variation, 2 kilobases (kb) of the LPL gene in 30 Mongolian individuals were sequenced. All gene-specific targets from DOP-PCR product template were amplified. No unexpected polymorphisms in the sequence results attributable to the DOP-PCR step were found, and 93% to 95% of Alu genotypes that have been amplified from total genomic DNA were replicated. The incorrect typings were all due to the preferential amplification of the shorter of two possible alleles in individuals heterozygous for an Alu insertion and were all correctly typed on subsequent reamplification of the gene-specific PCR products. This method of whole-genome amplification promises to be an efficient way to maximize the genetic use of rare anthropological samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-925
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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