The Partners Genotyping Facility, part of the Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine (PCPGM), provides flexible, high quality, high-throughput SNP genotyping to the Harvard-Partners research community, including Harvard Medical School, hospitals in the Partners HealthCare network, investigators in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and the Harvard School of Public Health. The portfolio of Genotyping methods at PCPGM now includes Illumina, TaqMan and TaqMan OpenArrays.


Quick view of the Technologies at PCPGM


Project Size




Amount of DNA per sample per plex
Illumina GoldenGate 384-1536 in steps of 96 SNPs Custom and Fixed Genomic and WGA DNA 50 ng/ul Picogreen 250 ng
Illumina Infinium Up to 5 M SNPS Fixed Panels (some chips allow custom additions) Genomic DNA only 50 ng/ul Picogreen 200 - 750 ng (depending on chip)
Taqman 1-8 SNPs RS# or customer provided sequence information Genomic or WGA 2ng/ul  Picogreen 4ng
OpenArray 16, 32, 64, 128 or 256 SNPs RS# or customer provided sequence information Genomic or WGA 50ng/ul Picogreen 150ng


TaqMan SNP allelic discrimination is performed on the ABI7900. In this method, specialized probe oligonucleotides are used to distinguish the SNPs during or at the end of a PCR reaction. Depending upon a number of factors, including previous implementation of the method for a particular SNP, this method will be the first approach for genotyping in some cases.

TaqMan OpenArray (formerly Biotrove) genotyping is a nanofluidic chip based platform that allows us to run assays that we know work well using traditional 384-well format TaqMan assays. The OpenArray system allows users to run 16, 32 or 64 SNPs on one OpenArray. Depending on the number of SNPs on an OpenArray up to 144 samples can be run per OpenArray (in a 16-plex assay).

The Illumina GoldenGate assay is most suitable for researchers engaged in large scale association studies: whole genome linkage mapping panels and large scale fine mapping panels. The genotyping is carried out in 384 plex reactions then in multiples of 96 SNPs up to 1536 SNPs using Illumina custom SNP panels. Many standard panels are also available from Illumina.

The Illumina Infinium assay is also available for Whole Genome Genotyping. Genotyping is carried out on standard chips containing up to 5 million SNPs, at present. Custom genotyping of large numbers of SNPs is also available using the iSelect system. Several standard chips allow the addition of iSelect custom SNP sets to allow customization of the chip for the researchers specific aims.


Specialized Equipment

The PCPGM Genotyping facility employs state-of-the-art equipment, including Biomek FX, Perkin Elmer Janus and Deerac Equator Nanodispensing robotic pipetting devices, a 384-well ABI 7900 Taqman machine and an Illumina iScan system comprising of Tecan liquid handling and wash station, high-throughput iScan plate reader with autoloader. This high-tech equipment forms the core of the genotyping facility and enables throughputs in excess of 5 million SNP genotypes per day.