Sampling and Dispatch of Specimens
DNA testing is an integral component of breeding and animal registration programs. Collecting high-quality samples is the most important step in the DNA testing process. Insufficient or poor quality samples delay turnaround times, and increase costs associated with resampling, re-submission and retesting. Given proper storage conditions, DNA is a robust and stable molecule that can be stored for several years. By following the guidelines written below you can help ensure a successful DNA test result the first time.
- Confirm the type of sample required for the DNA test(s) you want to request.
- Confirm the amount/volume of sample required for the DNA test(s) you want to request.
- Confirm the best storage- and shipment method for the sample type you are collecting.
- Request the relevant forms to accompany the samples to be submitted.
- Data entry errors in the field
– Samples are mislabeled or numbers are transposed
Verify that the animal ID is clearly labelled on each sample and that the
information on the samples correspond to the information on the request form.
- Biological contamination
– Cross contamination between animals or samples
– Foreign material, e.g. faecal matter, dirt, microbial growth (leads to DNA degradation and/or PCR inhibition)
Hands should be cleaned between animals along with any sampling tools (e.g. pliers, needles, syringes, etc.) used
Remove any foreign material before sampling (e.g. faecal matter in tail hair)
- Chemical contamination
– Dye/Pigment from animal tattoos
– Dipping agents
– Cleaning agents
Avoid sampling an animal from a tattooed area
Properly clean the area to be sampled beforehand
- Incorrect storage/shipping conditions
The most common reasons for DNA degradation are exposure to moisture (e.g. incorrect storage container), heat and sunlight (e.g. leaving samples in a vehicle in the sun), and physical cleavage through freeze-thaw cycles (improper frozen storage).
Always confirm the best storage- and shipment method for the sample type you are collecting.
Insufficient sample volume
Always confirm the amount/volume of sample required for the DNA test(s) you want to request