January 19, 2023
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How are DNA Samples Stored and Transported?

Do you ever wonder what happens to your DNA sample after you send it off to the lab? Here is everything you need to know:
Tomohiro Takano

How are DNA Samples Stored and Transported?

So you have jumped on the DNA at-home test bandwagon. You have provided your sample and have sent it off to the lab.

Now is the waiting game. But what happens next?

Here is everything you need to know about how DNA samples are stored and transported:

How Do You Provide a DNA Sample?

The most common forms of DNA samples are provided by one of the following:

·       Saliva

·       Cheek swab

·       Blood

·       Urine

·       Hair

·       Other

The most popular method of obtaining your unique DNA sample at home is by a cheek swab or a saliva sample. In order to conduct a cheek swab, simply remove the swab from the protective packaging and swab the inside of both cheeks assertively. Be sure to collect enough of your cheek sample before placing the swab into the respective preservation container. Next, send it off to the lab!

If you received the at-home saliva DNA sample, you simply provide enough spit into the vial until you reach the marked line. Once you reach the line, close the top tightly to preserve the genetic sample. Next, send it off to the lab!

How are DNA Samples Stored?

Once your DNA sample is received at the lab, the analysts will begin their hard work. Although the research analysis process does not take too long, it may take a matter of weeks before your DNA results are posted online for you to view.

After the DNA matching and sequencing by the genealogists are completed, your DNA samples will be stored. Due to the sensitive nature of DNA, samples can easily degrade and tarnish if specific conditions are not met.

Typically, DNA is stored in a vitreous state where molecules cannot diffuse. Therefore, the proton’s movements remain limited which prevents nuclease and chemical degradation. Samples can be preserved for up to 200 years.

DNA can also be stored in a dry state. This method entails removing water, which means the DNA must be stored at low humidity to prevent degradation. It is conducted by spray freeze drying, air drying, spray drying, or lyophilization—the latter being the most popular and cheapest method.

How are DNA Samples Transported?

DNA samples are transported by first eliminating any chance of contamination. If the vessel is cracked, oxygen and/or bacterial particles may infiltrate the sample and contaminate it. Once the DNA sample is contaminated, the results may no longer be accurate.

Delays must also be avoided to receive the most accurate DNA genetic sample. Delays can result in the degrading of the sample, thus leaving the DNA sample flawed and inaccurate. The specimens can also get lost.

Preserving the integrity of the sample is additionally of the utmost importance. The best transportation methods include protective measures that preserve the integrity of the samples at each and every stage of transport. This includes from the moment the sample leaves your home in the mail to each step between when it is delivered to the lab.

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO