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March 06, 2018

Solve DNA extract storage issues with Whatman FTA Elute Cards

By Koya Reams, Human Identification Applications Scientist at GE Healthcare

Consider switching to Whatman FTA Elute cards for archiving extracted DNA samples


Forensic laboratories can process thousands of DNA samples per year. Typically, the remaining extracted DNA after testing is stored as a liquid in the freezer. Other labs may choose to dry samples down for archiving. A room-temperature storage solution for extracted DNA eliminates the need for freezers and saves precious laboratory space.

Whatman FTA Elute cards have been utilized for blood sample collection/room-temperature storage and isolation of the DNA template for downstream applications for many years. FTA Elute cards contain a chaotropic salt that lyses cells on contact and binds proteins tightly to the card matrix. In addition, FTA Elute chemistry has been designed for easy elution of DNA.

To release extracted DNA from FTA Elute cards, we have optimized an elution procedure based on the original FTA Elute protocol. Once the extracted DNA is applied to the FTA Elute card, the matrix changes color from purple to white. This gives the end user a clear view of where the sample was applied for future processing. This method has demonstrated the ability to effectively recover extracted DNA stored on Whatman FTA Elute cards at room temperature. The data supports that complete STR profiles were obtained from samples containing as little as 50pg/µl of DNA in the starting extract concentration.

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