NPJ Genom Med. 2023 Feb 14;8(1):5. doi: 10.1038/s41525-023-00349-w.
Universal newborn screening (NBS) is a highly successful public health intervention. Archived dried bloodspots (DBS) collected for NBS represent a rich resource for population genomic studies. To fully harness this resource in such studies, DBS must yield high-quality genomic DNA (gDNA) for whole genome sequencing (WGS). In this pilot study, we hypothesized that gDNA of sufficient quality and quantity for WGS could be extracted from archived DBS up to 20 years old without PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) amplification. We describe simple methods for gDNA extraction and WGS library preparation from several types of DBS. We tested these methods in DBS from 25 individuals who had previously undergone diagnostic, clinical WGS and 29 randomly selected DBS cards collected for NBS from the California State Biobank. While gDNA from DBS had significantly less yield than from EDTA blood from the same individuals, it was of sufficient quality and quantity for WGS without PCR. All samples DBS yielded WGS that met quality control metrics for high-confidence variant calling. Twenty-eight variants of various types that had been reported clinically in 19 samples were recapitulated in WGS from DBS. There were no significant effects of age or paper type on WGS quality. Archived DBS appear to be a suitable sample type for WGS in population genomic studies.