Expanding probe repertoire and improving reproducibility in human genomic hybridization
Diagnostic DNA hybridization relies on probes composed of single copy (sc) genomic sequences. Sc sequences in probe design ensure high specificity and avoid cross-hybridization to other regions of the genome, which could lead to ambiguous results that are difficult to interpret. We examine how the distribution and composition of repetitive sequences in the genome affects sc probe performance. A divide and conquer algorithm was implemented to design sc probes. With this approach, sc probes can include divergent repetitive elements, which hybridize to unique genomic targets under higher stringency experimental conditions. Genome-wide custom probe sets were created for fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and microarray genomic hybridization. The scFISH probes were developed for detection of copy number changes within small tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes. The microarrays demonstrated increased reproducibility by eliminating cross-hybridization to repetitive sequences adjacent to probe targets. The genome-wide microarrays exhibited lower median coefficients of variation (17.8%) for two HapMap family trios. The coefficients of variations of commercial probes within 300 nt of a repetitive element were 48.3% higher than the nearest custom probe. Furthermore, the custom microarray called a chromosome 15q11.2q13 deletion more consistently. This method for sc probe design increases probe coverage for FISH and lowers variability in genomic microarrays.