An efficient method for the assessment of DNA quality of archival microdissected specimens

Arek Siwoski, Adrian Ishkanian, Cathie Garnis, Lewei Zhang, Miriam Rosin, Wan L. Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


There will be an increasing need of methods for assessing the suitability of specimens for genetic-based assays as DNA markers become an integral part of molecular diagnosis. The targeting of specimens for specific analyses will require the ability to rapidly screen for DNA quality. Conventional methods such as Southern analysis and gene specific-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) often require quantities of material that represent a significant portion of the specimen, especially in microdissected samples. Here we describe a novel application of a commonly used PCR-based DNA-fingerprinting technology that requires minimal quantities of DNA to simultaneously assess multiple regions throughout the genome for DNA quality. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) PCR generates DNA fragments of a broad size range with the product size reflecting the degree of sample fragmentation. Fourteen DNA samples extracted from cells microdissected from seven formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded oral cancer biopsies were assessed for DNA quality using gene-specific PCR and RAPD-PCR. Although the more conventional assay required 2-ng DNA (or 300-cell equivalents) to examine DNA quality at a single locus, RAPD-PCR provided a more informative profile of DNA quality from the same microdissected archival specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-892
Number of pages4
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • DNA quality
  • Formalin-fixed archival biopsy
  • Microdissection
  • Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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