RNA sequencing of archived neonatal dried blood spots

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Neonatal dried blood spots (DBS) are routinely collected on standard Guthrie cards for all-comprising national newborn screening programs for inborn errors of metabolism, hypothyroidism and other diseases. In Denmark, the Guthrie cards are stored at − 20 °C in the Danish Neonatal Screening Biobank and each sample is linked to elaborate social and medical registries. This provides a unique biospecimen repository to enable large population research at a perinatal level. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility to obtain gene expression data from DBS using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). RNA-seq was performed on five males and five females. Sequencing results have an average of > 30 million reads per sample. 26,799 annotated features can be identified with 64% features detectable without fragments per kilobase of transcript per million mapped reads (FPKM) cutoff; number of detectable features dropped to 18% when FPKM ≥ 1. Sex can be discriminated using blood-based sex-specific gene set identified by the Genotype-Tissue Expression consortium. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility to acquire biologically-relevant gene expression from DBS using RNA-seq which provide a new avenue to investigate perinatal diseases in a high throughput manner.




Bybjerg-Grauholm, J., Hagen, C. M., Khoo, S. K., Johannesen, M. L., Hansen, C. S., Bækvad-Hansen, M., … Hollegaard, M. V. (2017). RNA sequencing of archived neonatal dried blood spots. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, 10, 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgmr.2016.12.004

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