It may sometimes be necessary or useful to share raw MLPA data files from capillary electrophoresis devices with MRC Holland, e.g. for troubleshooting or as part of a test or validation phase. Such data should be free from personal information such as patient names.
For some systems it is sufficient to rename the data files. However, FSA files produced by capillary electrophoresis devices from Thermo Fisher Scientific/Applied Biosystems (ABI) contain the original sample name in the file. Simply renaming the files is not enough to anonymise them. There are two methods to completely anonymise FSA files.
For efficient troubleshooting, we recommend retaining information about replicates or reactions on DNA derived from the same patient in the sample name, e.g. by renaming the reactions to 'Patient 1' and 'Patient 1 repeat'. You can also specify this information in your message to us.
Method 1: Re-extract the data
The first option is to re-extract the data from the ABI. This is only possible if the plate is still visible in the Plate Manager. These instructions are based on the Foundation Data Collection software (v3.0) that is used for our ABI system. The details for your setup may vary, but the idea should be similar.
- Check if the plate is still in the Plate Manager. If not, the data has been deleted from the device, and the procedure will not work.
- Go to Run History, and click Find All.
- Go to Reextraction and find the appropriate run in the drop-down box.
- Edit the sample names where necessary.
- Click the Extract button.
- The data will be stored in the same location as usual.
Method 2: Use the MLPA Sample Anonymiser Support Tool
You can also use MRC Holland's free MLPA Sample Anonymiser Support Tool to anonymise your FSA files. This is particularly useful if the previous method is not available to you because the original data is no longer available, or because you do not have easy access to the ABI system.
Step-by-step instructions on how to anonymise your FSA files with the tool can be found in the User Manual. You can also view the video below.
The tool does not require installation, but does require Microsoft .NET Framework v4.5. The tool can automatically check for updates to ensure that you have the latest version, provided that you have an internet connection (see the User Manual for more details).
In case you are unable to view the video on YouTube you can also download it here.