How to Collect DNA Samples

DNA Sample Kit and How to Collect DNA Samples


Cheek swabs or strands of hair can be used as samples

A variety of samples can be used for DNA Testing. The standard sample type is buccal (inner cheek) swabs, however non-standard sample types such as strands of hair can also be used. Sample collection is easy; for cheek swabs, you have only to swipe the inside of your cheek 4 or 5 times with the cotton swabs provided in the sample kit, dry the sample and mail it back.

Non-standard sample types such as a used toothbrush or cigarette butts are also very simple to collect.

What Can be Used as a Sample? 

For Home DNA Tests sample collection can be done in the privacy of your own home.

As the test results are meant for private use, you can also fill in the necessary paperwork yourself, and there is no need to submit proof of identification or the personal contact details of all the tested parties.

For a Legal DNA Test, sample collection and paperwork must be done with an unbiased third party present. We will send one of our staff specialists to oversee the sample collection.

Documents Needed for a DNA Test

If you have any questions about how to collect samples using the DNA Sample Kit, please contact us.

Ex. Sample 1: How to Collect Strands of Hair

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.


Ex. Sample 2: How to Collect a Buccal (Cheek) Swab

Please note: 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.)

Step 1


Remove the 2 sterilized swabs together simultaneously


Step 2


Swipe the inside of your cheek as seen in the picture. Rub 4-5 times while rotating the swab to collect inner cheek cells.

Step 3


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.(additional shipping fees may apply for international orders)

(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.

(Question from a Client) Is it possible to use a different type of sample?

If a cheek swab is difficult to obtain, it is possible to use non-standard samples such as a toothbrush or cigarette butts for DNA testing.

※Please note that non-standard samples incur additional fees and require extra time for processing

What Can be Used as a Sample?  >>

Correct Method for Sample Collection

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.

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 Celsius 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.

Please feel free to contact us.
Questions consultation is completely free >>

DNA Testing performed by a specialized and trusted laboratory Free Consultations and Money back guarantee

4:00 pm1:00am
(Japan Time 9:00am~6:00pm,Weekdays)

It is important to choose a laboratory you can trust with your DNA Testing. You may see many companies online advertising cheap and fast DNA testing, but it can be difficult to know which companies can be trusted to provide accurate results. seeDNA is a specialized laboratory with a proven track record, trusted with thousands of DNA tests a year. We guarantee you high quality, accurate results.

Order a DNA Test >>