In the movies, it’s never a problem for CSI techs to get DNA information from the tiniest speck of blood or a just few skin cells. But, for real researchers trying to figure out where transcription factors bind or what’s going on with histones, things are a little harder. That’s why researchers in France, China, and the Netherlands developed LinDA (aka, “linear DNA amplification”), which can amplify picograms of ChIP-seq DNA (from ~5,000-10,000 cells) for genome-wide profiling of transcription factors and chromatin.
Although LinDA might be mistaken for the name of a super-efficient technician-for-hire, it’s actually a single-tube method using T7 RNA polymerase that can work on as little as 30 pg of DNA. Here are some other perks that LinDA brings to the table:
- Unlike other low cell number ChIP protocols, LinDA is compatible with high-throughput sequencing.
- Other methods for amplifying ChIPed DNA require many ligations and PCR cycles and are likely to introduce artifacts—that’s not the case for LinDA.
- LinDA is an improvement over other T7 protocols for small DNA amounts because everything happens in a single tube with a single buffer.
LinDA is so easy to do that it could be automated, according to the authors, and with further improvements, they think the method could help profile the genomes of less than a thousand cells.
See what LinDA is all about at Nature Methods, June 2011.