Infrared MALDI Mass Spectrometry of Large Nucleic Acids

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Science  10 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5374, pp. 260-262
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5374.260

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Mass spectrometry has become an increasingly important tool of high accuracy, efficiency, and speed for the routine analysis of nucleic acids. To make it useful for large-scale sequencing of genomic material as required for example in genotyping and clinical diagnosis, it is necessary to find approaches that allow the analysis of sequences much larger than the 100 nucleotides currently possible. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectra of synthetic DNA, restriction enzyme fragments of plasmid DNA, and RNA transcripts up to a size of 2180 nucleotides are reported. The demonstrated mass accuracy of 1 percent or better and the sample requirement of a few femtomoles or less surpass all currently available techniques for the analysis of large nucleic acids. DNA and RNA can be analyzed with only a limited investment in sample purification.

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