Sample barcoding, also called sample indexing, is a common approach to labeling samples for multiplex sequencing and analysis. All nucleic acids in a sample are labeled with the same sequence tag, and the resulting library is pooled with other libraries and sequenced in parallel in a single run. Then, during analysis, the sample-specific indexes enable the software to separate the multiplexed sequence data in sample-specific data sets.
Molecular barcoding differs from sample indexing, in that each molecule in a sample is labeled with a unique sequence prior to PCR amplification. With each nucleic acid in the starting material tagged with a unique molecular barcode (MBC), sequence analysis software can filter out duplicate reads and PCR errors to report more accurate unique reads.
There are two major advantages to using molecular barcodes for targeted sequencing:
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