RNA sequencing of archived neonatal dried blood spots

Jonas Bybjerg-Grauholm, Christian Munch Hagen, Sok Kean Khoo, Maria Louise Johannesen, Christine Søholm Hansen, Marie Bækvad-Hansen, Michael Christiansen, David Michael Hougaard, Mads V. Hollegaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Neonatal dried blood spots (DBS) are routinely collected on standard Guthrie cards for all-comprising national newborn screening programs for inborn errors of metabolism, hypothyroidism and other diseases. In Denmark, the Guthrie cards are stored at − 20 °C in the Danish Neonatal Screening Biobank and each sample is linked to elaborate social and medical registries. This provides a unique biospecimen repository to enable large population research at a perinatal level. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility to obtain gene expression data from DBS using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). RNA-seq was performed on five males and five females. Sequencing results have an average of > 30 million reads per sample. 26,799 annotated features can be identified with 64% features detectable without fragments per kilobase of transcript per million mapped reads (FPKM) cutoff; number of detectable features dropped to 18% when FPKM ≥ 1. Sex can be discriminated using blood-based sex-specific gene set identified by the Genotype-Tissue Expression consortium. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility to acquire biologically-relevant gene expression from DBS using RNA-seq which provide a new avenue to investigate perinatal diseases in a high throughput manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Dried blood spots
  • Gene expression
  • Guthrie Cards
  • Limited material
  • Neonatal Screening
  • RNA-seq


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