Quantity versus quality: Optimal methods for cell-free DNA isolation from plasma of pregnant women

Carolina J. Jorgez, Dianne D. Dang, Joe Leigh Simpson, Dorothy E. Lewis, Farideh Z. Bischoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Methods to isolate cell-free fetal DNA from maternal plasma are critical in developing noninvasive fetal DNA testing strategies. Given that plasma consists of heterogeneous DNA-size fragments in a complex mix of proteins, recovery and analysis of this DNA are understandably inefficient. To facilitate recovery, we performed qualitative and quantitative analysis of DNA isolated from maternal plasma. METHODS: DNA isolated from maternal blood (n = 15) was compared using five different DNA isolation protocols: two conventional, two column-based, and one magnetic-bead based. Purity and concentration of DNA recovered were determined with a NanoDrop spectrophotometer. Real-time polymerase chain reaction quantification of the β-globin and DYS1 loci was performed to determine total and fetal-specific genome equivalents, respectively. RESULTS: DNA quality and quantity were different among the five methods tested. Although purity and concentration of total DNA were greatest with the conventional boiling-lysis approach, correct detection of a male fetus was achieved in only 62.5% of cases. DNA isolation using the magnetic beads yielded the highest quantity of total DNA (2018.83 ± 4.09 GEq/mL), with 100% fetal DNA detection. CONCLUSIONS: Optimal plasma DNA recovery protocols must take into account DNA purity and concentration. We confirm that the magnetic-beads method provides a fast, simple, sensitive, and specific approach to purify plasma DNA. The resulting high-quality DNA facilitates efficient examination of fetal DNA sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-619
Number of pages5
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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