The Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0 is an oligonucleotide tiling array for the resequencing of the human mitochondrial (mt) genome. For each of 16,569 nucleotide positions of the mt genome it holds two sets of four 25-mer probes each that match the heavy and the light strand of a reference mt genome and vary only at their central position to interrogate all four possible alleles. In addition, the MitoChip v2.0 carries alternative local context probes to account for known mtDNA variants. These probes have been neglected in most studies due to the lack of software for their automated analysis.
The human mitochondrial genome consists of a multicopy, circular dsDNA molecule of 16,569 base pairs. It encodes for 13 proteins, two ribosomal genes, and 22 tRNAs that are essential in the generation of cellular ATP by oxidative phosphorylation in eukaryotic cells. Germline mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are an important cause of maternally inherited diseases, while somatic mtDNA mutations may play important roles in aging and cancer. mtDNA polymorphisms are also widely used in population and forensic genetics. Therefore, methods that allow the rapid, inexpensive and accurate sequencing of mtDNA are of great interest. One such method is the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Mitochondrial Resequencing Array 2.0 (MitoChip v.2.0) (Santa Clara, CA). A direct comparison of 93 worldwide mitochondrial genomes sequenced by both the MitoChip and dideoxy terminator sequencing revealed an average call rate of 99.48% and an accuracy of > or =99.98% for the MitoChip. The good performance was achieved by using in-house software for the automated analysis of additional probes on the array that cover the most common haplotypes in the hypervariable regions (HVR). Failure to call a base was associated mostly with the presence of either a run of > or =4 C bases or a sequence variant within 12 bases up- or downstream of that base. A major drawback of the MitoChip is its inability to detect insertions/deletions and its low sensitivity and specificity in the detection of heteroplasmy. However, the vast majority of haplogroup defining polymorphism in the mtDNA phylogeny could be called unambiguously and more rapidly than with conventional sequencing.
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