Routine Quantification Of Genetically Modified Organisms Biology Essay

Compulsory labeling of merchandises incorporating genetically modified beings ( GMOs ) above a certain threshold has been introduced in several states. These ordinances imply quantitative molecular analysis of the merchandises and real-time quantitative polymerase concatenation reaction ( qPCR ) is presently being used for this undertaking. However, the application of qPCR engineering in GMO proving nowadayss restriction for the sensing and quantification of really low figure of DNA marks, and in some hard nutrient and provender matrices. A recent methodological analysis termed droplet digital PCR ( ddPCR ) has been demonstrated to accurately quantify absolute DNA transcripts. In this survey, the pertinence of ddPCR was assessed for the everyday quantification of GMOs in samples. The sums of MON810 transgene and hmg corn mention cistron transcripts in Deoxyribonucleic acid samples were measured utilizing ddPCR semidetached house checks. Key public presentation parametric quantities of the ddPCR checks were determined. The ddPCR system is shown to offer precise absolute and comparative quantification of the GMO mark, without the demand of standardization curve. The sensitiveness ( five mark DNA transcripts ) of the ddPCR check compares to those of the single qPCR checks and of the late assessed chamber digital PCR ( cdPCR ) attack, but ddPCR offers a wider dynamic scope ( over four orders of magnitude ) than cdPCR. Furthermore, the ddPCR check shows lower sensitiveness to suppression and better repeatability at low concentration degree. Finally, ddPCR throughput and cost are advantageous compared to those of qPCR for everyday GMO quantification. These consequences indicate that ddPCR engineering could be applied for everyday accurate quantification of GMOs.


With an accumulated deep-rooted country between 1996 and 2010 transcending one billion hectares1, genetically modified workss hereafter referred to as GM organisms ( GMOs ) , and their merchandises ( besides termed GMO in the followers ) are a important portion of planetary agribusiness, nutrient and provender systems. To take in history the societal and scientific concerns raised by the usage of this engineering, most states around the universe have implemented rigorous ordinances for the development and the usage of GMOs.2 In legion states, these ordinances besides include labeling of merchandises incorporating GMOs or stuff derived from GMOs above specific thresholds, hence presenting demand for GMO content quantification.2 As an illustration, in the European Union, the threshold for labeling of sanctioned GMOs is 0.9 % in nutrient and feed3, and 0.1 % for unapproved GMOs in provender carry throughing specific requirements.4

Presently, the most common engineering for proving GMOs in nutrient and provender samples is the polymerase concatenation reaction ( PCR ) . When thresholds for labeling is required, the usage of real-time quantitative PCR ( qPCR ) is preferable because of its truth and precision.5 GMO content in nutrient and provender samples is expressed in comparative values as the ratio of the transgene ( GM mark, i.e. the nucleic acid fragment introduced in the host genome ) measure compared to the endogene ( mention cistron in the host genome ) quantity.6 For the quantification of nucleic acids, the alleged criterion curve attack is normally used in GMO detection.7 In this attack, standard curves of the endogene and the transgene measures are prepared individually utilizing consecutive dilutions of DNA extracted from mention stuff. qPCR efficiency and hence quantification of endogene and transgene can be influenced by many factors – including inhibitors – nowadays in nutrient and provender samples taking to important under- or over-estimation of GMO content utilizing this comparative quantification approach.7,8 Many attempts have been put into betterment of the qPCR quantification public presentation sing the suppression and matrix effects7, the low concentration degree of marks in everyday samples9,10, and trade with the absence of certified mention material.10 However, most of the proposed solutions are non practical and dependable quantification of GMOs in nutrient and provender samples still remains a ambitious undertaking.

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Digital PCR ( dPCR ) rule proposes to quantify absolute figure of marks present in a sample utilizing confining dilutions, PCR and Poisson statistics.11 To make so, the PCR reaction is distributed across a big figure of dividers incorporating none, one or more transcripts of the mark nucleic acid. After end-point PCR elaboration, each divider is scrutinized and defined as positive ( “ 1 ” , presence of PCR merchandise ) or negative ( “ 0 ” , no PCR merchandise ) hence the term “ digital ” . The absolute figure of mark nucleic acerb molecules contained in the original sample before breakdown can be straight calculated from the fraction of positive vs. entire dividers utilizing binomial Poisson statistics.12 Therefore, dPCR does non bespeak the usage of standard curves for quantification of a given mark. As merely the binary consequence ( positive, negative ) is taken in history, transcript figure finding with dPCR is more tolerant to fluctuations of PCR elaboration efficiency than with qPCR. Finally, with ddPCR, the higher the figure of dividers is, the more precise is the mark transcript figure computation and the wider is the dynamic range.13

Presently, two attacks are used in the commercially available dPCR systems.12,14 One attack ( cdPCR ) relies on the breakdown in up to a few thousand single reactions in microfluidic Chamberss. The 2nd attack called droplet digital PCR ( ddPCR ) combines partitioning of the PCR reaction in several 1000s or 1000000s of single droplets in a water-oil emulsion with the usage of a flow cytometry to number positive PCR reactions.

dPCR has been adopted for a figure of applications including transcript figure fluctuation surveies affecting allelomorphic favoritism or instability, point mutants sensing, individual cell cistron look, survey of hyper-methylation, sensing of low transcript figure nucleic acerb mark ( reviewed in 15-17 ) . Recently, a cdPCR commercial system has been demonstrated to let suited metrological public presentation for the transcript figure ratio enfranchisement of mention stuffs used in GMO testing.8,18 Several advantages can be presented for the usage of dPCR alternatively of qPCR in everyday GMO testing: 1 ) it allows absolute mark transcript figure and avoids elaboration efficiency prejudice observed with qPCR8,18 ; 2 ) it overcomes the dependence on the handiness of mentions or standards16 ; 3 ) it provides informations with high preciseness and assurance relevant for metrological use8,18 ; 4 ) it provides more accurate informations at low mark transcript figure than qPCR19 leting low GMO content quantification ; 4 ) because of its tolerance to inhibitors as an end-point measuring it can cut down the prejudices linked to matrix type frequently observed with qPCR.16 However, the application of cdPCR is limited by two of import factors: its comparative high monetary value and the little dynamic scope it offers ( 2-3 logs ) .

Given the higher figure of replicates allowed by ddPCR vs. cdPCR and the comparative lower monetary value per analyzed sample of the former, it has been envisaged that ddPCR could let better precision14, assurance and easier acceptance of digital PCR engineering in research labs for day-to-day analysis.12 The purpose of this survey was hence to measure the cardinal public presentation parametric quantities of ddPCR for GMO proving obtained from the QX100 droplet system ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) and compare them to the current qPCR public presentation every bit good as the late studied public presentation of cdPCR.8,16 The one-dimensionality of the response, the absolute bounds of sensing and quantification, the repeatability over the dynamic scope of the 20 000- droplet ddPCR endogene and transgene checks were assessed. The pertinence of ddPCR with different sample matrices and the practicableness of usage for everyday GMO testing were besides assessed.

Material and methods

Test stuff

Several MON810 maize seed pulverization based certified mention stuffs ( CRM ) were purchased from the EU Joint Research Centre, IRMM ( Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Geel, Belgium ) . These CRMs are all certified for the mass to mass ( m/m ) transgene/endogene ratio. Some of them are besides certified for the copy/copy ( cp/cp ) ratio. In this survey, the undermentioned CRM were used: ERM-BF413d ( 1 % A±0.3 % m/m and 0.57 % A±0.17 % cp/cp ) , ERM-BF413f ( 5 % A±0.2 % m/m ) , ERM-BF413ek ( 1.98 % A± 0.15 % m/m and 0.77 % A± 0.08 % cp/cp ) and ERM-BF413gk ( 9.9 % A± 0.5 % m/m ) .

The CRM ( ERM-BF413gk ) is merely certified for the mass/mass ratio. However, this CRM belongs to the same series than ERM-BF413ek, intending that they were both prepared with the same wild-type and MON810 maize powdery material.20 Therefore, based on the rectification factor between the mass/mass and the copy/copy certified values in the ERM-BF413ek CRM ( factor 2.57 ) , one can gauge the copy/copy MON810 content in ERM-BF413gk ( 3.85 % A±0.2 % cp/cp ) from its mass/mass certified value. A similar rating can be applied for the copy/copy ratio in ERM-BF413f ( 2.85 % A±0.1 % cp/cp ) issued from the same CRM series than ERM-BF413d21 utilizing the rectification factor between the mass/mass and the copy/copy certified values in the ERM-BF413d CRM ( factor 1.75 ) .

Other samples incorporating the MON810 maize event and antecedently assayed by qPCR were besides used in this survey. Several maize seed-powder flour samples were tested: G0009/04 from the USDA-GIPSA proficiency plan ( measured 0.29 % A±0.13 % cp/cp by qPCR, assigned value 0.3 % m/m ) ; G0180/07 from the USDA-GIPSA proficiency plan ( measured 0.04 % A±0.02 % cp/cp by qPCR, assigned below 0.1 % m/m ) ; G211/10 from the ILC-CRL-GMFF proficiency plan ( measured 0.50 % A±0.15 % cp/cp by qPCR, assigned value 0.45 % A± 0.098 % cp/cp ) and G212/10 from the ILC-CRL-GMFF proficiency plan ( measured 2.30 % A±0.7 % cp/cp by qPCR, assigned value 2.10 % A± 0.35 % cp/cp ) . A wheat seed-powder flour samples with maize taint from the GEMMA proficiency trial plan was tested ( G0147/08, measured 29.6 % A±8.9 % cp/cp with qPCR, no assigned value ) . Two samples from everyday GMO testing were included in the rating: maize flakes ( G231/11, 2.64 % A±0.8 % cp/cp ) , and provender incorporating corn ( G254/11, 3.82 % A±1.1 % cp/cp ) .

Deoxyribonucleic acid extraction

Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted and purified from all samples utilizing the NucleoSpin Food kit ( Macherey-Nagel GmbH & A ; Co. KG, Duren, Germany ) . In parallel, DNA from sample G0147/08 was besides extracted and purified harmonizing to a CTAB method22 with the undermentioned alterations: 200 milligram of get downing stuff, 600 I?L of added H2O, 1000 I?L of CTAB extraction buffer, and 40 I?L of each RNase and protease K.

Dilutions of the stock extracted DNA solutions were made with nuclease- , protease-free H2O ( Sigma-Aldrich Chemie Gmbh, Munich, Germany ) , utilizing pipettes calibrated with a SAG285 preciseness weighing faculty ( Mettler-Toledo d.o.o. , Ljubljana, Slovenia ) .

Enzymatic limitation of genomic Deoxyribonucleic acid

For enzyme digestion, about 50 nanograms of MON810 genomic DNA were used in a entire reaction volume of 30 I?L incorporating the NEB4 10x limitation buffer, and 40 unit of TaqI ( New England Biolabs GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, Germany ) . The concluding volume was adjusted with nuclease- , protease-free H2O ( Sigma-Aldrich Chemie Gmbh, Munich, Germany ) and incubated for 2 H at 65 A°C. The TaqI enzyme was inactivated by incubating at 80 A°C for 10 min. 6 I?L of digested genomic Deoxyribonucleic acid were analyzed on a 1 % agarose gel to corroborate complete digestion.

qPCR reactions and informations analysis

The hmg cistron was used as endogenous control cistron for corn. A alone, individual transcript DNA integration-border part of the genomic sequence and the inserted sequence component arising from CaMV ( 35S booster ) was used for specifically detect and quantify the MON810 event. Probe and primers nucleotide sequences were the same as in the inter-laboratory validated protocol23 but the TAMRA quencher in the investigations was replaced by the Black Hole Quencher 1 ( BHQ-1 ) ( see Table S1 in auxiliary stuff ) . The same primers and investigations were used for both qPCR and ddPCR experiments.

Singleplex qPCR reaction mixes comprised of 1A- TaqMan Universal mastermix ( Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA ) , the relevant primers at concluding concentration of 300 nanometers, the relevant investigation at concluding concentration of 180 nanometers, and 4 I?L DNA templet. Duplex qPCR reaction mixes comprised of 1A- Taqman Universal mastermix ( Applied Biosystems, CA, USA ) , the hmg primers at concluding concentration runing from 150 nanometers to 300 nanometers, the MON810 primers at concluding concentration runing from 300 nanometers to 600 nanometers ( ratio hmg/MON810 primer from 1 to 4 ) , the hmg investigation at concluding concentration runing from 90 nanometers to 180 nanometers, the MON810 investigation at concluding concentration runing from 180 nanometers to 360 nanometers ( ratio hmg/MON810 primer from 1 to 4 ) , and 4 I?L DNA templet.

All qPCR reactions were performed on a 7900HT Fast Real-Time PCR System ( Applied BioSystems, Foster City, CA ) with the following thermic cycling conditions: 2 min uracil-N-glycosylase ( AmpEraseA® ) measure at 50A°c, 10 min activation measure at 95 A°C, followed by 45 rhythms of a two-step thermal profile consisting 15 s denaturation at 95 A°C, and 60 s annealing/extension at 60 A°C. Data acquisition and analysis was performed utilizing the SDS 2.3 package ( Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA ) after manual accommodation of the baseline and fluorescence threshold. After being exported, farther information analysis was performed in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet ( Microsoft, Redmond, WA ) .

Determination with qPCR of MON810 content was done utilizing comparative quantification harmonizing to the criterion curve attack. Standard curves were prepared from five consecutive dilutions of copy/copy ratio certified mention stuffs ( get downing from about 100 nanograms to 1 nanograms DNA per reaction ) and used in two replicates. For each sample, the quantification was done based on two replicates of three dilutions. Consequences of quantification performed with CRM certified for transgene/endogene transcript ratio were expressed in per centum of the copy/copy ratio.

Droplet Digital PCR reactions and informations analysis

Duplex ddPCR reaction mixes were prepared as follows. 10 I?L of 2A- ddPCR Master Mix ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) and 1 I?L of each primer ( concluding concentration of 300 nanometer ) and investigation ( concluding concentration of 180 nanometers ) ( see in auxiliary stuff ) were assorted, and 4 I?L Deoxyribonucleic acid templet were added to finish the 20 I?L reaction volume. For singleplex reactions, 3 I?L of nuclease- , protease-free H2O ( Sigma-Aldrich Chemie Gmbh, Munich, Germany ) were added to finish a 20 I?L reaction volume. Concluding primers and investigations concentrations in ddPCR reactions are indistinguishable to the qPCR conditions used in this survey, and to those in the antecedently described chamber digital PCR ( cdPCR ) conditions 8. All reactions were prepared utilizing pipettes calibrated at NIB with a SAG285 preciseness weighing faculty ( Mettler-Toledo d.o.o. , Ljubljana, Slovenia ) or at a service supplier research lab ( LotriA? Metrology ltd, Slovenia ) .

Droplet coevals was performed in 8-well cartridges utilizing the QX100 droplet generator ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) as antecedently described.12 Water-in-oil emulsions were amplified in a conventional calibrated Geneamp 9700 PCR cycler ( Applied BioSystems, Foster City, CA ) . Thermal cycling conditions were the undermentioned: 10 min denaturation at 95 A°C, followed by 40 rhythms of a two measure thermic profile consisting 15 seconds denaturation at 95 A°C, and 60 s annealing/extension at 100 % incline rate at 60 A°C. After elaboration, merchandises were denaturated at 98A°C for 10 proceedingss and cooled to 12A°C. Then plates were transferred in the QX100 droplet reader ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) . Data acquisition and analysis was performed utilizing QuantaSoft ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) .

Discrimination between positive droplets incorporating elaboration merchandises and negative droplets without elaboration merchandises was done by using a fluorescence amplitude threshold in QuantaSoft package ( Bio-Rad, Pleasanton, CA ) . The threshold was manually set at the lowest point of the negative droplet bunch as envisioned utilizing both the fluorescence amplitude vs. event figure, and the histogram of events vs. amplitude informations watercourses, on each of the FAM and VIC channels.

Datas generated by QX100 droplet reader were rejected from subsequent analysis ( I ) if a geta was detected by the Quantasoft package or ( two ) if a low figure ( & lt ; 10,000 ) of droplets was measured per 20 I?L PCR. After being exported, farther information analysis was performed in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets ( Microsoft, Redmond, WA ) .

The per centum of positive droplets for a given amplicon was calculated as the per centum of droplets demoing signal for the amplicon in the entire figure of analyzed droplets.

ddPCR cardinal public presentation parametric quantities finding

Comparison singleplex vs. duplex reactions

For the ddPCR duplex check rating, three different 8-well cartridges were evaluated, incorporating either of the singleplex hmg, singleplex MON810 or the duplex ddPCR checks. In each cartridge, one well was filled with a none templet ( NTC ) ddPCR reaction mix, while the seven other Wellss contained ddPCR reactions with DNA extracted from the ERM-BF413ek CRM ( norm of 46,571 hmg transcripts and 324 MON810 transcripts ) . Droplet coevals was made for each person cartridge, and the droplet incorporating PCR reaction of the three cartridges were transferred on a individual PCR home base for elaboration, followed by droplet count.

Dynamic scope, repeatability bounds of sensing and quantification

A dilution series was prepared with MON810 maize DNA extracted from the ERM-BF413gk CRM. DNA quantification in the initial MON810 corn DNA solution was estimated by qPCR as antecedently described.24 The dilution series consisted of 14 solutions incorporating in mean 87400, 65500, 16490, 3240, 1080, 360, 120, 60, 40, 13, 4, 1.5, 0.2 and 0.02 transcripts of hmg, and 3200, 2400, 600, 120, 40, 13, 4, 2, 1.5, 0.5, 0.2, 0.05, 0.006 and 0.0006 transcripts of MON810, severally ) . Five replicates of the dilution series and of a non templet control ( NTC ) were measured by ddPCR. For qPCR, measurings were done in extras. In the followers, merely the transcript Numberss measured by ddPCR will be used, and the transcript Numberss estimated by qPCR will non be mentioned any longer. The one-dimensionality over the dynamic scope was determined by the coefficient of correlativity R2 calculated on the norm of the mark transcript Numberss measured in the replicated dilution series for both qPCR and ddPCR. The repeatability over the dynamic scope was determined by the coefficient of fluctuation ( curriculum vitae ) of the mensural mark transcript figure or the MON810 content between the replicates of the dilution series. The absolute bound of quantification ( aLOQ ) and absolute bound of sensing ( aLOD ) for qPCR and ddPCR were determined on these experimental consequences.

An extra set of experiments was performed to set up the repeatability between different emulsification tallies. Intra- and inter cartridge ( ddPCR 8 good french friess ) repeatability was determined on five independent series dwelling of seven replicates of the ERM-BF413ek ( about 100 nanograms and norm of 46571 hmg transcripts and 324 transcripts of MON810 per 20 I?l reaction ) and one NTC. All elaboration reactions were at the same time performed on the same 96-well home base, supplying a sum of 35 replicate positive ddPCR reactions.


Samples representative of four different maize-containing matrices from everyday GMO testing were used to prove the pertinence: seed-powder flour, maize flakes, wheat seed-powder flour with maize taint and provender incorporating corn ( see the subdivision “ Test stuff ” for inside informations ) .


The ddPCR amplicons used for this survey were straight imported from qPCR singleplex checks that were inter-laboratory validated and for which specificity was carefully checked at this phase. Furthermore, the method parametric quantities ( primer and investigation concentration, thermic profiles ) were non modified. Therefore, the specificity of the ddPCR amplicon was non verified as it is believed that it should be the same as for the qPCR singleplex checks.

Consequences and treatment

Given the restrictions of qPCR for the quantification of GMO in nutrient and provender samples, particularly at low mark degree and in some hard matrices, a set of experiments was done to measure the capacity of ddPCR to execute everyday GMO quantification fulfilling the by and large accepted method minimal public presentation criteria.25,26

In order to avoid every bit much as possible prejudices when comparing qPCR and ddPCR quantification, we have transferred the inter-laboratory validated qPCR hmg- and MON810-specific checks to ddPCR engineering with a lower limit of version and optimisation. Therefore, beside the mastermix and scenes that are specific to the QX100 droplet system, primers and investigation nucleotide sequences and concentrations, DNA concentration, and PCR thermo-profile were unbroken indistinguishable to the qPCR assays. Merely the TAMRA quencher in both investigations of the original qPCR checks was substituted with the non-fluorescent BHQ-1 quencher.

ddPCR can be easy set as duplex applications

Because the GMO content is calculated based on the ratio of transgene/endogene measures, it would be more practical to execute endogene – transgene duplex qPCR and ddPCR reactions to avoid inter-well prejudice. For this ground, rating of duplex qPCR and ddPCR checks was performed and compared to singleplex checks public presentation. The primers and investigations of both the hmg and MON810 systems were assorted in the qPCR or ddPCR reactions to a concluding concentration equal to the concentration in the original singleplex checks. Other parametric quantities ( thermo-profile, DNA template measure ) remained unchanged. Preliminary consequences of qPCR duplex systems rating suggested that the hmg system performed the same in semidetached house and singleplex qPCR reactions, while the MON810 elaboration was significantly affected in the duplex reactions, demoing signal about 5.5 Cq values subsequently than in singleplex reactions ( informations non shown ) . An effort to optimise the duplex qPCR reaction was made by changing primers and investigation concentration and ratios of both systems. However, in all the tried conditions the hmg and MON810 appeared either otherwise affected presenting under-estimations of the MON810 content, and/or loss of sensitiveness ( informations non shown ) . These consequences are non a surprise. The trouble to multiplex qPCR checks is good documented, including for GMO quantification application.27-29 The restrictions include the design of amplicons demoing similar short length, the presence of legion primers and investigation that can potentially make dimers, the complex finding of optimum primer and investigation concentrations. Another trouble linked to GMO sensing is that the event-specific amplicons needed for dependable and specific GMO quantification must normally aim the junction part between the transgene and the host works genome, go forthing a really narrow window for design and increasing farther the flexibleness for a manifold design. Besides, the research labs normally need to quantify low concentrations of transgene ( down to 0.1 % ) in a background of high endogene measures. This dissymmetry in concentration renders even more hard the constitution of a qPCR duplex check aiming both the MON810 transgene and the hmg endogene. In the undermentioned experiments, merely consequences of the singleplex qPCR checks were used for comparing with ddPCR assay consequences.

For ddPCR, no important fluctuation of the mensural mark transcript figure was observed between the singleplex and the duplex ddPCR reactions for both hmg ( bias = -1.8 % ) and MON810 systems ( bias = 3.7 % ) . Similarly, no important fluctuation of the measured MON810 content was observed between the singleplex and the duplex ddPCR reactions ( bias = 5.8 % ) ( see Table S2 in auxiliary stuff ) . Additionally, the repeatability of the duplex check in the measuring of the MON810 content appeared comparable to that of the singleplex checks with somewhat lower variableness. As a decision to these consequences, it was assumed that the duplex ddPCR check performs every bit good as the singleplex ddPCR checks without any optimisation of the original reactions conditions. This observation was further confirmed by the successful constitution of several extra semidetached house ddPCR checks from singleplex qPCR checks without optimisation ( informations non shown ) . This duplex check was hence used in farther analyses.

Enzymatic limitation of genomic Deoxyribonucleic acid

It was late suggested that it is preferred to expose gDNA to endonuclease limitation in order to better the elaboration efficiency and to increase the truth of GMO mark transcript figure measuring with cdPCR.18 The consequence of gDNA endonuclease limitation on ddPCR truth was besides evaluated. Two series ( non digested, and digested with TaqI ) of four dilutions of DNA extracted from the ERM-BF413ek CRM were evaluated with the duplex ddPCR check.

Both series showed similar consequences in footings of one-dimensionality for the marks: 0.9995 and 0.9982 for the hmg and MON810 marks in the non-digested ( native ) gDNA series, 0.9994 and 0.9966 for the hmg and MON810 marks in the TaqI digested gDNA series ( data non shown ) . Copy figure appraisals were somewhat different: appraisals in digested genomic Deoxyribonucleic acid were approximately 30 % lower in comparing with the native DNA. Furthermore, the transcript figure finding between dilution degrees is more variable with the digested than with the native DNA ( Table S3 of the auxiliary stuff ) . However, the measured MON810 contents were really similar between both series through all the dilution series ( bias = -0.28 % ) .

Digestion of DNA for digital PCR analysis may be necessary in the instance of a possible linkage between marks such as multiple transcripts of mark physically linked on a same chromosome, or if marks present on a same plasmid demand to be quantified. In the instance of GMO quantification, an event-specific amplicon is targeted, which normally consist in the alone junction part between the host works genome and the transgene. Similarly, the mark chosen for endogene quantification is a cistron nowadays in a alone transcript in the host works genome. In the instance of the MON810 corn, the two dimensional analysis of the droplet signals is really similar between samples treated by endonuclease and non-digested DNA samples. This observation suggests the absence of linkage between MON810 positive droplets and hmg positive droplets in digested and undigested DNA samples, therefore corroborating the independence between both marks ( Figure S1 in auxiliary informations ) . For practicableness ground, it was chosen to continue farther with the ddPCR public presentation word picture utilizing non-digested gDNA.

Dynamic Range, preciseness and bound of quantification

A recent survey has estimated that the theoretical ddPCR dynamic scope is 105 mark transcripts, and by experimentation established a dynamic scope covers more than 4 orders of magnitude.12

The ddPCR duplex assay response was investigated over mark concentrations runing from about 0.02 to 87,400 hmg transcripts and from about 0.001 to 3,200 MON810 transcripts per 20 I?L of ddPCR reaction. The dynamic scope was estimated from five replicates of a 14 informations point dilution series supplying a sum of 70 informations for each mark of the ddPCR duplex check. From this dataset, informations from one reaction were excluded from informations analysis. This reaction was excluded because of pipetting mistakes noticed after lading the 8-well cartridges with ddPCR reaction mixes. The mean figure of droplets read for each ddPCR reaction included in the information analysis was 13,606 with a standard divergence of 931 droplets ( coefficient of fluctuation curriculum vitae = 6.8 % ) .

The ddPCR response was additive over concentrations runing from an norm of 5 to 118,000 hmg transcripts ( 0.02 % to 99.5 % positive droplets ) with a coefficient of correlativity ( R2 ) of 0.9990. Similarly, the ddPCR response for MON810 was additive from 6 to 4,340 MON810 transcripts in norm ( R2 = 0.9993 ; 0.03 % to 17.9 % positive droplets in norm ) ( ) . This public presentation was similar to the 1 of both singleplex qPCR checks, linear over the same dynamic scopes ( R2 hmg = 0.9939 and R2 MON810= 0.9958 ) ( informations non shown ) . The ddPCR additive response for the MON810/hmg semidetached house checks covered a broader scope than the same checks tested in cdPCR which was limited to 2-3 orders of magnitude.16,18 This wider scope of concentrations could be attributed to high figure of dividers available for reactions in ddPCR ( 13,606 droplets in norm in this work ) compared to the figure of dividers ( 765 ) available for cdPCR reaction. It has been already said that qPCR offers much broader dynamic scope than digital PCR.14 However, the dynamic scope observed for ddPCR is covering the whole scope of mark concentrations a research lab normally meets for GMO everyday testing ( 0.1 % to 100 % GMO/endogene ratio cp/cp ) .

For single marks and the GMO content, the coefficient of correlativity R2 obtained with ddPCR met the demands ( R2 & gt ; 0.98 ) set by the European Union Reference Laboratory for GM Food and Feed26 for credence of a quantitative PCR-based sensing method for GMO.

All samples used for the dynamic scope finding came from consecutive dilution of a individual stock MON 810 corn DNA sample. At higher concentration ( 118,000 hmg transcripts per 20 I?l ddPCR reaction ) , each droplet contains in mean 5.9 hmg molecules, which is the upper recommended concentration for usage of the droplet system ( Bio-Rad, personal communicating ) . This determination supports the fact that the duplex MON810/hmg ddPCR check can be used on a broad scope of mark concentration to find the MON810 content in a given sample and that values around 115,000 transcripts are the upper scope of quantification with ddPCR.

The absolute bound of quantification ( aLOQ ) is the lowest mark transcript figure in a sample that can be faithfully quantified with an acceptable degree of preciseness and truth ( acceptance standard as defined in 26 ) . The aLOQ of the hmg or MON810 ddPCR systems was estimated as the lowest transcript figure within the dynamic scope with a coefficient of fluctuation ( curriculum vitae ) of the measured transcript figure a‰¤ 25 % . Based on this standard, aLOQ was estimated around 5 transcripts for the hmg system, and 18 transcripts for the MON810 system and for the duplex ddPCR check ( Supplementary Table S4 ) . As a comparing, it is normally agreed that aLOQ of qPCR checks ranges from 30 to 100 mark transcripts per reaction.9,30 The aLOQ of the qPCR MON810 specific method used in this survey was antecedently estimated to be 10 transcripts of the mark MON810 sequence23, and in a higher scope of 31 – 63 copies.16 The aLOQ of the duplex ddPCR check was hence in scope with the best appraisals for the qPCR public presentation. Similarly, the aLOQ of the duplex ddPCR check was besides in the scope with the aLOQ measured in cdPCR ( 15 – 56 transgene transcripts ) , assessed merely on the MON810 assay.16


The absolute bound of sensing ( aLOD ) is the lowest mark transcript figure in a sample, which can be faithfully detected, but non needfully quantified ( acceptance standard as defined in 26 ) . For this survey, aLOD was calculated based on experimental informations obtained to find the dynamic scope. aLOD was determined as the last concentration degree for which all five ddPCR replicates resulted in at least two positive droplets. aLOD was estimated at five transcripts for the hmg system, and six transcripts for the MON810 system and is suited for everyday GMO testing. The absolute sensitiveness is comparable with the one observed for the MON810 singleplex qPCR assay ( five transcripts ) 23, verified at around three transcripts harmonizing to our ain appraisal ( informations non shown ) , and the MON810 check tested in cdPCR ( around one transcript ) .16


Intra- and inter-cartridge repeatability of the ddPCR was assessed for both hmg and MON810 mark transcript figure finding and for MON810 content finding. Low variableness was observed within each of the five cartridges for the finding of hmg transcripts, of MON 810 transcripts, and of MON810 content with variableness of measured values below 10 % . Similarly, comparing of the values between the five cartridges showed low variableness ( one hundred five & lt ; 10 % ) for the three measured parametric quantities: hmg transcript figure, MON 810 transcript figure and MON810 content ( and Supplementary Table S5 ) .

The overall repeatability public presentation could besides be estimated by analysing the consequences of the experiment performed for the aLOQ and dynamic scope finding. All along the dynamic scope, the curriculum vitae of the determined hmg transcripts, MON 810 transcripts, and MON810 content stayed beyond the threshold for credence of quantitative methods ( cv below 25 % ) ( Supplementary Table S4 ) .

In all experiments and for all three parametric quantities ( hmg and MON 810 transcript figure, MON810 content ) , the coefficient of variableness measured at each point of the dynamic scope stays far below the 25 % threshold set in international counsel paperss for GMO proving method validation.25,26 These experiments demonstrate that utilizing ddPCR, one can obtain quotable and comparable quantitative appraisal of GMO mark figure or content.

It was already observed with both ddPCR12 and cdPCR18 that the comparative uncertainness in mark transcript figure varies across the dynamic scope, with higher uncertainness and accordingly higher measurement variableness as the mark transcript figure lessenings. In this survey, it was observed similar higher variableness of the mensural mark transcript Numberss ( Supplementary Table S4 and ) and of the MON810 content at lower mark concentration ( Supplementary Table S4 and ) .


Truth is defined as the intimacy of understanding between the mean value obtained from a series of trial consequences and an recognized mention value.26 As a general credence standard, the truth shall be within A±25 % of the recognized mention value over the whole dynamic range.25,26

To measure the truth, informations generated by the experiments for the dynamic scope finding and for the intra- and inter-cartridge repeatability public presentation were used. In absence of a Deoxyribonucleic acid mention stuff certified for absolute transcript figure concentration, truth could merely be assessed for the MON810 content.

In the experiment performed to find the intra- and inter-cartridge repeatability public presentation ( on CRM ERM-BF413ek ) , the mean value of the pooled ddPCR informations showed good understanding with the certified value ( ) and in every instance, the MON810 content measured by ddPCR ( within the dynamic scope ) was within A±25 % of the certified value ( ) . By comparing, the MON810 content measured by qPCR was close to the bound of credence ( ) .

The mean value of the pooled ddPCR duplex check informations at each dilution degree of the dynamic scope showed good understanding with the mention value ( ERM-BF413gk, 3.85 % cp/cp ) ( ) . The MON810 content measured by qPCR was similar to that of the ddPCR value, the subsequently being somewhat closer to the mark value ( ) . Throughout the dynamic scope, each single ddPCR measuring of the MON810 content fell within A±25 % of the certified value ( ) . It is notable that the divergence between the MON810 content measured by ddPCR and the mention value tended to increase with lower mark transcript figure. Still, the MON810/hmg ddPCR semidetached houses assay met trueness credence standards throughout the whole dynamic scope. Truth was besides evaluated on two extra CRMs: ddPCR consequences showed better understanding with the mark values than qPCR ( ) .

In add-on to the CRMs, truth of the ddPCR duplex check can be evaluated on the ILC-CRL-GMFF proficiency plan consequences which are provided in copy/copy ratio. As shown in, the measurings obtained on two samples from ILC-CRL-GMFF proficiency plan are in really good understanding with the assigned values, and in conformity with the truth credence standard.

Harmonizing to our consequences, the truth of the duplex ddPCR assay assessed on CRM and proficiency plan samples to the full satisfies the credence standard set for a DNA-based quantification method and is frequently better than truth from qPCR singleplex checks.


Another of import factor when presenting new methods or engineerings for proving GMOs in nutrient and provender is their pertinence. More specifically, their ability to execute with different sample matrices and within a scope of concentrations relevant for GMO proving should be demonstrated.25

As shown in, MON810 contents measured by the ddPCR duplex MON810/hmg check in maize seed-powder flour samples and maize flakes samples are in good conformity with the values measured with the qPCR singleplex MON810 and hmg checks ( ) .

During qPCR trials, we detected the presence of suppression in the stock DNA solution of two samples ( wheat seed-powder flour with maize taint and maize provender ) , exemplified by the high divergence between MON810 content ( one hundred five & gt ; 25 % ) calculated from different sample dilutions. Consequently, the diluted Deoxyribonucleic acid samples were used to find the MON810 content with qPCR. In the instance of the wheat sample, a 2nd DNA extraction following CTAB protocol was to boot performed given the really high suppression observed in the Deoxyribonucleic acid extracted with the Nucleospin nutrient kit ( NSF ) . Both stock and diluted DNA solutions from this CTAB infusion could be used for the MON810 content finding with qPCR. The ddPCR measurings of MON810 content were in understanding with the recognized values obtained with qPCR but with prejudices somewhat above the credence bound for the wheat seed-powder flour sample ( and Supplementary Table S6 ) . Interestingly, really low divergence was observed between the MON810 content determined by ddPCR in the stock ( showing suppression with qPCR ) and the diluted DNA solutions for both matrices ( Supplementary Table S6 ) . This consequence suggests that the ddPCR duplex check is less sensitive to inhibitors found in the nutrient and provender matrix than the qPCR assays, as theorized previously.16 There is a long empirical cognition of DNA extraction methods efficiency harmonizing to the sample matrix of involvement: GMO research labs use adapted DNA extraction methods that in some instance may take to limited suppression during the qPCR analysis. Following this pattern, there is no hazard that substances in DNA infusion would wholly suppress the qPCR or ddPCR elaboration reaction ensuing in false negatives. As such, ddPCR could be even more dependable than qPCR for quantitative analysis in some hard matrices.

In drumhead, the ddPCR MON810/hmg duplex assay can be applied for everyday quantification of the MON810 corn, as demonstrated on a big scope of transgene content covering three logs of magnitude ( by experimentation from 0.04 % to 29.6 % ) . Furthermore, its serviceability in several types of nutrient, provender and seed matrices normally found in everyday samples has been verified.


Before presenting a new engineering in a research lab, one has to verify its practicableness for day-to-day usage. Sing everyday nutrient analysis, Codex Alimentarius suggests to measure the practicableness “ by sing parametric quantities such as: the measure of samples that can be processed within a given clip, estimated fixed costs to implement the method and the approximative cost per sample, practical troubles on day-to-day usage or under peculiar conditions, every bit good as other factors that could be of importance for the operators ” .25

One needs to see the throughput and cost of the new engineering to measure it practicableness for everyday usage. To make so, computations were made based on the quantification of four samples, an mean figure for middle-size GMO laboratories. Following the quality confidence established for everyday GMO testing at the National Institute of Biology, the quantitative analysis of four samples utilizing hmg and MON810 singleplex qPCR checks requires a sum of 96 reactions ( see set up A, Table S7 in auxiliary stuff ) . This high figure of reactions is chiefly due to the usage of inter-laboratory validated singleplex methods, to the demand for commanding suppression that requires several dilution degrees, and to the reactions needed for set uping the criterion curve. With ddPCR, standard curve is non needed and a duplex MON810/hmg check with a broad dynamic scope is used. As suppression is well tested during the showing and designation stages of GMO proving and given the ascertained tolerance of the check for elaboration suppression, it is non necessary to command the suppression at the ddPCR quantification phase. Given these parametric quantities, a simple ddPCR proving set-up is proposed ( set up B, Table S7 in auxiliary stuff ) that includes two replicate reactions for each trial part of the sample, in conformity with the ISO 21570:2005 standard.31 With this set-up, a sum of 8 ddPCR reactions are necessary for the quantification of MON810 in two independent trial parts. Including NTC and quantification control reactions in the set-up, a sum of 20 reactions would be necessary to reliably quantify MON810 in four samples.

Based on the experience acquired for this survey and presuming the samples and mixes are prepared, the coincident analysis of these four samples with ddPCR would necessitate about 190 proceedingss. As a comparing, qPCR would take 160 proceedingss to bring forth consequences ( see Table S7 in auxiliary stuff ) . The chief difference between both attacks relies on the clip needed by the droplet reader to analyse single droplets.

Sing the cost of reagents, consumables and labour at NIB and the above proposed set-ups for GMO testing, the quantification in four samples of a given transgene with ddPCR would be about US $ 20.9 per sample and US $ 22.3 utilizing qPCR. Another computation shows even better throughput and smaller cost for the ddPCR if more samples must be handled at the same time ( see Table S7 in auxiliary stuff for elaborate computations ) . For the cdPCR and given the list monetary values per bit or home base ( from US $ 150 to US $ 400 each ) 14, following the same set-up than for ddPCR ( four runs i.e. french friess or home base per sample ) would take to be per sample non compatible with everyday sensing of GMOs in most of the research labs.

Quantification of everyday samples utilizing ddPCR is hence practical and has the possible to supply better throughput and cost-efficiency than qPCR to GMO research labs.


The purpose of this survey was to show the serviceability of this engineering in real-life everyday nosologies, instead than re-investigating the late reported metrological features of ddPCR.12 In this survey, the pertinence of ddPCR was investigated for the quantification of GMO in nutrient, provender and seed samples. The herein presented ddPCR MON810/hmg semidetached house check implemented without optimisation from the inter-laboratory validated singleplex qPCR assays achieves a broad dynamic scope near to five orders of magnitude with an upper bound of quantification of about 118,000 mark transcripts. It besides shows really good sensitiveness, suited with GMO proving. Thankss to these public presentation parametric quantities, quantification of samples from usual matrices and utilizing DNA extracted with common methods can be done without up-front DNA measure appraisal. Besides, the bounds of quantification, the truth and the repeatability of the check for both systems comply with international recommendations25,26 and are comparable or superior to those of the inter-laboratory validated qPCR singleplex checks.

Applicability of the engineering was verified on representative matrices found in everyday samples, and on a scope of GMO content normally found in everyday samples and relevant to different international labeling petitions. Unlike qPCR, ddPCR has been found comparatively insensitive to amplification suppression nowadays in some of the tried samples, and really precise at really low degrees of mark content. The usage of the ddPCR duplex check in everyday GMO analysis was shown to be practical, following a new trial set-up proposed in this survey.

It was late discussed that monetary value is a restriction to the acceptance of ddPCR in laboratory.14 The information provided herein shows that in the context of GMO quantification, ddPCR running cost over performs the standard qPCR engineering in a superior throughput, particularly when legion samples must be at the same time handled. Increasing the multiplexing will surely besides give extra advantage to the ddPCR in footings of cost and through-put and could let its usage already at the testing and/or designation stairss. Interestingly, the constitution of duplex reactions is straightforward and does non necessitate optimisation. This characteristic presents the advantages of cut downing the cost of analysis, and of diminishing the uncertainness linked to the droplet volume fluctuation and dilution pipetting errors.18

As late commented14, one should decently look into that a method based on digital PCR performs decently in footings of sensitiveness and specificity before usage. To be employed in GMO everyday testing, methods based on ddPCR shall be decently validated through ring-trials and verified during the debut in GMO research labs to show their fittingness for intent. However, the ddPCR public presentation demonstrated in this survey for the GMO quantification on existent everyday samples should let better assurance and easier acceptance of digital PCR engineering in research labs to bring forth more precise informations on their every twenty-four hours tests, at better cost per sample.

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