Activated protein C resistance (APCR), the most common risk factor for venous thrombosis, is the result of a G to A base substitution at nucleotide 1691 (R506Q) in the factor V gene. Current techniques to detect the factor V Leiden mutation, such as determination of restriction length polymorphisms, do not have the capacity to screen large numbers of samples in a rapid, cost-effective test. The aim of this study was to apply the first nucleotide change (FNC) technology, to the detection of the factor V Leiden mutation. After preliminary amplification of genomic DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), an allele-specific primer was hybridised to the PCR product and extended using fluorescent terminating dideoxynucleotides which were detected by colorimetric assay. Using this ELISA-based assay, the prevalence of the factor V Leiden mutation was determined in an Australian blood donor population (n = 500). A total of 18 heterozygotes were identified (3.6%) and all of these were confirmed with conventional MnlI restriction digest. No homozygotes for the variant allele were detected. We conclude from this study that the frequency of 3.6% is compatible with others published for Caucasian populations. In addition, the FNC technology shows promise as the basis for a rapid, automated DNA based test for factor V Leiden.
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