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Measuring Single-Cell Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number and Heteroplasmy using Digital Droplet Polymerase Chain Reaction
Stephen P Burr 1, Patrick F Chinnery 2
...MtDNA copy number and heteroplasmy have traditionally been measured by quantitative (q)PCR-based assays or deep sequencing. However, the recent introduction of ddPCR technology has provided an alternative method for measuring both parameters. It offers several advantages over existing methods, including the ability to measure absolute mtDNA copy number and sufficient sensitivity to make accurate measurements from single cells even at low copy numbers. Presented here is a detailed protocol describing the measurement of mtDNA copy number in single cells using ddPCR, referred to as droplet generation PCR henceforth, with the option for simultaneous measurement of heteroplasmy in cells with mtDNA deletions. The possibility of expanding this method to measure heteroplasmy in cells with mtDNA SNPs is also discussed.