by Ti-Zhen Yan, Qiu-Hua Mo, Ren Cai, Xue Chen, Cui-Mei Zhang, Yan-Hui Liu, Ya-Jun Chen, Wan-Jun Zhou, Fu Xiong, Xiang-Min Xu
Reliable detection of large deletions from cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) in maternal plasma is challenging, especially when both parents have the same deletion owing to a lack of specific markers for fetal genotyping. In order to evaluate the efficacy of a non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) test to exclude a-thalassemia major that uses SNPs linked to the normal paternal a-globin allele, we established a novel protocol to reliably detect paternal SNPs within the (--SEA) breakpoints and performed evaluation of the diagnostic potential of the protocol in a total of 67 pregnancies, in whom plasma samples were collected prior to invasive obstetrics procedures in southern China. A group of nine SNPs identified within the deletion breakpoints were scanned to select the informative SNPs in each of the 67 couples DNA by multiplex PCR based mini-sequencing technique. The paternally inherited SNP allele from cffDNA was detected by allele specific real-time PCR. A protocol for reliable detection of paternal SNPs within the (--SEA) breakpoints was established and evaluation of the diagnostic potential of the protocol was performed in a total of 67 pregnancies. In 97% of the couples one or more different SNPs within the deletion breakpoint occurred between paternal and maternal alleles. Homozygosity for the (--SEA) deletion was accurately excluded in 33 out of 67 (49.3%, 95% CI, 25.4–78.6%) pregnancies through the implementation of the protocol. Protocol was completely concordant with the traditional reference methods, except for two cases that exhibited uncertain results due to sample hemolysis. This method could be used as a routine NIPD test to exclude gross fetal deletions in a-thalassemia major, and could further be employed to test for other diseases due to gene deletion.