HLA sequence-based DNA typing (SBT) by long-range PCR amplification (LR PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a high-throughput DNA sequencing method (LR-NGS-SBT) for the efficient and sensitive detection of novel and null HLA alleles to the field-4 level of allelic resolution without phase ambiguity. However, the accuracy and reliability of the HLA typing results using buccal cells (BCs) and saliva as genetic source materials for the LR-NGS-SBT method are dependent largely on the quality of the extracted genomic DNA (gDNA) because a large degree of gDNA fragmentation can result in insufficient PCR amplification with the incorrect assignment of HLA alleles because of allele dropouts. In this study, we developed a new cost-efficient swab storage gel (SSG) for wet swab collection of BCs (BC-SSG) and evaluated its usefulness by performing different DNA analytical parameters including LR-NGS-SBT to compare the quality and quantity of gDNA extracted from BCs (in SSG or air dried), blood and saliva of 30 subjects. The BC-SSG samples after 5 days of storage revealed qualitative and quantitative DNA values equivalent to that of blood and/or saliva and better than swabs that were only air-dried (BC-nSSG). Moreover, all the gDNA extracted from blood, saliva and BC-SSG samples were HLA-typed successfully to an equivalent total of 408 alleles for each sample type. Therefore, the application of BC-SSG collection media for LR-NGS-SBT has benefits over BC dried samples (dry swabs) such as reducing retesting and the number of untestable BC samples because of insufficient DNA amplification.

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