Jiang, L., Lin, R., Gallagher, S. et al. Development and validation of a 4-color multiplexing spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) genotyping assay on a novel integrated digital PCR instrument. Sci Rep 10, 19892 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76893-7
Digital PCR (dPCR) technology has been proven to be highly sensitive and accurate in detecting copy number variations (CNV). However, a higher-order multiplexing dPCR assay for measuring SMN1 and SMN2 copy numbers in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) samples has not been reported. Described here is a rapid multiplex SMA dPCR genotyping assay run on a fully integrated dPCR instrument with five optical channels. The hydrolysis probe-based multiplex dPCR assay quantifies SMN1, SMN2, and the total SMN (SMN1 + SMN2) while using RPPH1 gene as an internal reference control. The quadruplex assay was evaluated with characterized control DNA samples and validated with 15 blinded clinical samples from a previously published study. SMN1 and SMN2 copy numbers were completely concordant with previous results for both the control and blinded samples. The dPCR-based SMA copy number determination was accomplished in 90 min with a walk-away workflow identical to real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). In summary, presented here is a simple higher-order multiplexing solution on a novel digital PCR platform to meet the growing demand for SMA genotyping and prognostics.