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Introduction

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MassARRAY system

The Centre for Genomic Sciences at The University of Hong Kong is equipped with the MassARRAY facility. The MassARRAY system was created based on the technology of MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) mass spectrometry. This technology was seen as a fast method for providing reliable molecular weight information which was more informative and unambiguous compared to gel electrophoresis, and was shown to be an attractive alternative to analyze diallelic or trialleic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), point mutations and insertion/deletion mutations in amplified DNA fragments. The various applications of the system include SNP genotyping, DNA methylation, molecular typing, quantitative gene expression and somatic mutation profiling.

A range of high tech machinery are employed to operate the system, including a MassARRAY Analyzer 4 mass spectrometer, the MassARRAY RS1000 Nanodispenser, and a series of Applied Biosystems 384-well PCR machines.

A series of MassARRAY custom software are also incorporated into this system capable of designing SNP assays/primers and collection of SNP data. Using the MassARRAY online assay design software, SNP assays can be designed as multiplexes, where maximally up to 40 SNPs can be analysed simultaneously within a single well of a 384 well plate. This generates throughput in excess of 10,000 genotypes per day. The iPLEX Gold assay is available in the Centre for Genomic Sciences.