You can take DNA from this!?

You can take DNA from this!?

Summer is here, and this year`s heat wave shows no sign of letting up. Recently, to escape the heat I have gotten into the habit of getting an ice cream after work. The other day while enjoying my frozen treat, I suddenly was struck with a thought. “Would it be possible to do a DNA test from my popsicle stick…?“

At seeDNA, if it is difficult to obtain a cheek swab sample for testing, it is possible to test a variety of other non-standard sample types, such as a toothbrush or cigarette butts. The probability that DNA can be extracted from the sample can vary, but the probability is roughly in the following order:

 

Inner cheek swab > Semen *1 > Hair with root attached *2 > Toothbrush > Cigarette butts

 

Where would the wooden popsicle stick be in this list?

t appears that the probability of extraction from a wooden popsicle stick is about the same as that of a toothbrush. There are also plastic popsicle sticks out there, but it would be rather difficult to extract any DNA from a plastic stick.

Asides from blood samples and hair strand samples, in this heat it is very easy for bacteria and other microorganisms to propagate on other sample types, and the DNA is at a high risk of being destroyed. Therefore, it is necessary to dry the samples thoroughly before sending them to our laboratory. After finishing your popsicle, be sure to dry the wooden stick right away with a blow dryer for at least 5 minutes, or let it air dry for at least half a day in a well-ventilated room outside of direct sunlight.

It is still the middle of summer. If you are wondering what kind of samples you can use for a DNA test, why not choose wooden popsicle sticks, which are relatively easy to obtain in this heat?

*1 Please note a semen sample can only be used if it is not touched by anyone asides from the person providing the sample. If contaminated with DNA from other individuals the test will have inconclusive results. If someone else is collecting the sample, using cotton swabs to collect semen from a condom can be done to prevent contaminating the sample.
*2

In order to use a strand of hair for DNA testing the root needs to be attached. It is best to submit at least 3 strands of hair for testing, as if the root cannot be seen with the naked eye, it is likely that not enough DNA can be obtained for conclusive results. Please note that only testing for maternal lineage can be done with a hair strands that do not have the root attached.

 


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