- Introducing Our New DNA Test/Sample Collection Method Pamphlet. A printable version is available.
Click here to download the PDF file.
How to Collect a Buccal (Cheek) Swab
When collecting a cheek swab from an infant, please do so 2 hours before or after feeding. Be sure to swipe the infant`s inner cheek with the cotton swab 5 or more times.
(Rub gently while rotating the swab so that the inner cheek cells cover the entire swab.)
Remove the 2 sterilized swabs together simultaneously
Swipe the inside of your cheek as seen in the picture. Rub 4-5 times while rotating the swab to collect inner cheek cells.
Return the cotton swabs back to the paper sleeve carefully so the tips do not touch each other, and mail the samples back to our office using the provided prepaid packaging.
(Please note) It is best if the samples dry overnight, however if you are in a hurry you can use a blow dryer for 5 minutes on the samples. After confirming there is no more moisture you can send the samples back.
How to Collect Hair Samples
Be sure to use the latex gloves included in the DNA Sample Kit when collecting samples. As long as the root is attached, strands of hair from the head or other parts of the body can be used.
(Hair that has fallen out on its own, or strands of hair without the root attached cannot be used for DNA testing)
Useable Strand of Hair
Root is attached
Unusable Strand of Hair
No root is attached
Please put 3 or more strands of hair with the root attached into the zip-top bag and label it with the sticker as seen below. If it is difficult to get your hair into the zip-top bag, you can cut off a length of the hair that does not have the root attached to help it fit into the bag.
Liquid or raw tissue samples that cannot be mailed in a dry state should be returned using refrigeration or freezing methods (-4 degrees Celsius). (If it can be returned within 2 days after sample collection, it can be kept chilled using refrigeration methods, -2 degrees Celsius ).
* Please DO NOT freeze blood samples.
The most commonly used sample used for DNA tests is buccal (cheek) swabs.
One cheek swab of good quality contains enough DNA to be used for over 100 DNA tests. However, microorganisms from the mouth can multiply due to the moisture, and the DNA can decompose in just 1 day, making it impossible to examine.
If you cannot dry the samples before sending them back, it is best to send them back chilled so as to prevent the breeding of microorganisms during shipment.
The Reason for Drying Samples
The cotton swabs provided in the DNA Sample Kit are sterilized, so they are safe to put into your mouth. Even cheek swab samples from babies can easily be collected. However, it is said that there are 100 times more microorganisms inside the human mouth than the water inside a toilet bowl.
Because microorganisms stick to the cotton swab along with the cheek cells, if any moisture remains they can multiply quickly. The microorganisms can grow from the saliva attached to the cotton swabs and break down the cheek cells and DNA within just 1 day.
In warm temperatures, the risk rises for samples that have not been dried such as for bloodstains, semen, saliva, etc.
How to Store Samples
After collecting a cheek swab sample, it is recommended to let it dry indoors overnight. Drying the samples lightly with a blow dryer before putting them into the provided envelopes and shipping is also another option. There is no need to purchase any stamps as all packaging has prepaid postage.
For long storage(for cheek swabs 2 weeks or more, for semen or liquid samples 2 days or more), it is necessary to keep samples at -20℃ or lower. If necessary it is possible to store samples in a freezer for a few months, however for best results it is ideal to return samples to our laboratory immediately after collection.
Other Things to Note :
For the strands of hair and cheek swabs in example 1 and 2, please be sure to wear latex gloves and keep your hands and other objects from touching the samples.
Labels for the tested parties are included in the kit. To prevent any mix-up, it is recommended to do one sample collection at a time.
If a sample is contaminated by multiple people`s cells or bacteria an accurate result cannot be achieved.