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Animal chimeras are widely used for biomedical discoveries, from developmental biology to cancer research. However, the accurate quantitation of mixed cell types in chimeric and mosaic tissues is complicated by sample preparation bias, transgenic silencing, phenotypic similarity, and low-throughput analytical pipelines. Here, we have developed and characterized a droplet digital PCR single-nucleotide discrimination assay to detect chimerism among common albino and non-albino mouse strains. In addition, we validated that this assay is compatible with crude lysate from all solid organs, drastically streamlining sample preparation. This chimerism detection assay has many additional advantages over existing methods including its robust nature, minimal technical bias, and ability to report the total number of cells in a prepared sample. Moreover, the concepts discussed here are readily adapted to other genomic loci to accurately measure mixed cell populations in any tissue.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA.


Animals, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Chimerism