Molecular beacon genotyping for globoid cell leukodystrophy from hair roots in the twitcher mouse and rhesus macaque

Kimberly A. Terrell, Terri A. Rasmussen, Cyndi Trygg, Bruce A. Bunnell, Wayne R. Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Rapid and accurate genotype determination is ideal for the maintenance of breeding colonies of laboratory animal models of genetic disease. The rhesus macaque and murine (twitcher) models of globoid cell leukodystrophy have a dinucleotide deletion or single nucleotide substitution, respectively, which abolish ceramide beta-galactosidase activity and are authentic models of Krabbe disease. We report a molecular beacon PCR assay for each species which allows unambiguous determination of the genotype in under 4 h. The assay works reliably with DNA extracted from hair roots using Chelex-100® in a 20 min, 100 °C incubation. We demonstrate that genotyping from hair roots is a preferred alternative to collecting blood or tissue for DNA extraction because it reduces animal distress, uses an inexpensive reagent, and is simpler and faster. Following amplification on a standard thermocycler with a 96-well plate format, these molecular beacon assays can be read on a standard laboratory fluorescent plate reader, eliminating the need to use a real-time thermocycler or to open the plate for subsequent restriction enzyme digestion and gel electrophoresis. The multiplexed ratio of fluorescence from wild-type- and mutant-specific beacons reporting at 560 nm and 535 nm wavelengths is distinct for each genotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2007


  • Alternatives
  • Genotype
  • Globoid cell leukodystrophy
  • Hair root
  • Molecular beacon
  • Rhesus macaque
  • Twitcher


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