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    Sampling Best Practices

    Sample Collection, Handling and Shipping Guidelines

    Tail tips, fin clips and DNA samples have long been used as sources for genetic testing and they remain important tools for genetic research. However, the ease of obtaining genetic information from these specimens is influenced by the collection method, timing, and handling. Following these guidelines will help ensure that submitted samples are uniformly handled in an optimum fashion to minimize the influence of environmental variables. 

    Recommended Materials

    It is necessary to have the proper materials ready when collecting, storing, and shipping the specimens for your study. The materials and supplies listed here are recommendations: 

    • Disposable gloves (preferably sterile) and other personnel protective equipment, as needed 
    • Sharp scissors, razor, or surgical blade 
    • 96-well plates 
    • Various packing supplies as required
    • Rigid packaging for shipping 
      (do not use shipping envelopes or bags as they can be crushed in transit resulting in loss of samples) 
    Collection Procedures

    The collection procedures required vary according to the type of sample being collected. Refer to your institution’s IACUC protocols for sample collection. 

    Sample-Specific Guidance
    Sample Type
    Sample Size
    Storage Conditions
    Vessel Type
    Shipping
    * Extracted/purified DNA can only be accepted if the method used to make the DNA is provided. Spin column kits tend to provide low yields which can lead to insufficient DNA for genotyping, especially for validations or when multiple targets need to be tested. We do charge for “No Calls” when the DNA has been provided to us.
    Tail/ear (rodent)
    ≤2mm (samples larger than 2mm will not be processed)
    Room temperature preferred
    96-well plates
    Fresh samples can be shipped at room temperature. Frozen samples must remain frozen during shipment .
    Fin clip (zebrafish)
    Whole fin
    Room temperature preferred
    96-well plates with cap mats
    Fresh samples can be shipped at room temperature. Frozen samples must remain frozen during shipment. Push samples to bottom of container (fins often dry onto sides of tubes during shipping making DNA extraction difficult).
    Frozen Organ Tissue
    ≤2mm (samples larger than 2mm will not be processed)
    Frozen
    96-well plates with cap mats
    Frozen samples must remain frozen during shipment.
    Extracted/Purified DNA* (Proteinase K digestion)
    20-50µL
    Room temperature preferred
    Screw top tubes (preferred) or 96-well plates with cap mats
    Secure samples carefully to prevent leakage and cross contamination during shipping. Ship at room temperature unless previously frozen.
    Extracted/Purified DNA* (Spin column or magnetic bead extraction)
    50-100µL
    Room temperature preferred
    Screw top tubes (preferred) or 96-well plates with cap mats
    Secure samples carefully to prevent leakage and cross contamination during shipping. Ship at room temperature unless previously frozen.
    Buccal swab
    1 swab (swabs contaminated with blood will not be processed)
    Room temperature
    Trim swabs to fit in 96-well deep well plates with cap mats. Swab and tissue samples must be submitted on separate plates.
    Requires using Puritan™ PurFlock Ultra 6″ Ultrafine Flock Swab w/Polystyrene Handle, 100mm Breakpoint
    Blood
    Not accepted
    Fixed/preserved samples
    Not accepted
    Notes for Buccal Swab Samples

    For new assays requiring validation, please ship a confirmed positive control (tissue sample) first.  DO NOT ship any buccal swab samples until the assay has been validated. We will notify you when the assay has been validated and swab samples can be shipped.

    For assays that have already been validated, you may ship swabs to our laboratory and the results will be delivered within 2-3 business days.

    Documentation and Labelling

    Label samples with electronically printed or hand-written (in felt-tip permanent marker) labels. Prior to packaging, complete a GTCA sample submission form and include it with the shipment so your samples can be accurately received and recorded. 

    Shipping and Handling

    All samples should be packaged in a fashion that minimizes the chance they become, crushed, opened, or damaged during shipping. Samples which are already frozen should be shipped in a Styrofoam container with sufficient dry ice to maintain temperature (less than -80 °C) for at least 48 hours. 

    All samples should be shipped to: 

    GenoTyping Center of America 
    10 Water St., Suite 215 
    Waterville, Maine 04901 
    Phone: 1-844-800-4822 
    Email: support@gtcasolutions.com 

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