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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
The increasing demand for DNA sequences can be met by replacement of each DNA sample in a device with a mixture of N samples so that the normal throughput is increased by a factor of N. Such a method is described. In order to separate the sequence information at the end of the processing, the DNA molecules of interest are ligated to a set of oligonucleotide "tags" at the beginning. The tagged DNA molecules are pooled, amplified, and chemically fragmented in 96-well plates. The resulting reaction products are fractionated by size on sequencing gels and transferred to nylon membranes. These membranes are then probed as many times as there are types of tags in the original pools, producing, in each cycle of probing, autoradiographs similar to those from standard DNA sequencing methods. Thus, each reaction and gel yields a quantity of data equivalent to that obtained from conventional reactions and gels multiplied by the number of probes used. To date, even after 50 successive probings, the original signal strength and the image quality are retained, an indication that the upper limit for the number of reprobings may be considerably higher.