Characterizing Mutational Load and Clonal Composition of Human Blood

Axel Rosendahl Huber, Freek Manders, Rurika Oka, Ruben van Boxtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) gradually accumulate DNA mutations during a lifespan, which can contribute to age-associated diseases such as leukemia. Characterizing mutation accumulation can improve understanding of the etiology of age-associated diseases. Presented here is a method to catalogue somatic mutations in individual HSPCs, which is based on whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of clonal primary cell cultures. Mutations that are present in the original cell are shared by all cells in the clonal culture, whereas mutations acquired in vitro after cell sorting are present in a subset of cells. Therefore, this method allows for accurate detection of somatic mutations present in the genomes of individual HSPCs, which accumulate during life. These catalogues of somatic mutations can provide valuable insights into mutational processes active in the hematopoietic tissue and how these processes contribute to leukemogenesis. In addition, by assessing somatic mutations that are shared between multiple HSPCs of the same individual, clonal lineage relationships and population dynamics of blood populations can be determined. As this approach relies on in vitro expansion of single cells, the method is limited to hematopoietic cells with sufficient replicative potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59846
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number149
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019


  • Blood/metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mutation


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