Frequently Asked Questions
about DNA Archiving Packs
What are FTA cards?
They are a type of chemically treated micropaper patented by Whatman Ltd. that can capture and store DNA. Whatman is now part of GE Healthcare.
How does it work?
After you rub the inside of your cheek with the sterile foam-tipped applicator (swab), you blot your DNA onto one of the four circles on the FTA card. This changes color to show that your transfer was successful. The cells in the sample impregnate the paper and are dissolved on contact. The released DNA is captured, stabilized and protected from change or decay. When you're finished collecting your DNA you enclose the FTA card in a foil pouch with a dessicant (drying agent) and seal the pouch. Your DNA is safe from contamination or chemical reaction with other substances, oxidation and UV damage as well as microbial and fungal attack. When you want to test the DNA you simply mail the pouch to a lab, where it is torn open and processed.
What do I have to do?
All you have to do is rub the inside of your cheek with our special sterile swab for 30 seconds to take a buccal (pronounced BUCKLE) sample. This procedure is just like all our other tests. If you ordered the DNA Archiving Pack along with another test, you will receive it with your other sample collection kit by 2-day U.S. Priority Mail. You will return one kit to the lab with your sample and keep the other.
If I am collecting a sample from a deceased relative at the funeral home is there a special procedure?
Yes. We ask you to rinse each foam applicator (swab) with saline solution before rubbing it inside the deceased person's mouth. You should also wear sterilized gloves to avoid contamination. You can request the funeral director to take the sample for you following these steps.
What is the chemistry underlying this technology?
When cells are applied to the surface of FTA®-treated paper, they are lysed and the nucleic acids with high molecular weight are immobilized and stabilized within the medium’s matrix. Amplification or restriction enzyme digestion can be performed directly on the treated paper without the need for extensive extraction procedures.
How long will my DNA last on DNA Consultants’ storage cards?
Complete genomic DNA stored on FTA paper sealed in foil at room temperature for over 12 years (the time since they were first introduced) exhibits no loss in efficiency when extracted and amplified by standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. But estimates predict that the DNA on our cards will be viable for 50 years or more.
What tests can be done with DNA stored on a card?
All standard tests performed in DNA testing laboratories can be run with DNA stored in this means. This includes our DNA Fingerprint, DNA Fingerprint Plus, Premium Male, Premium Female and, in fact, all other tests we offer or expect to offer in the future. DNA Archiving Packs can also provide a specimen for the following uses:
- Funeral homes
- Private investigators
- Pathology clinics
- Disaster identification
- Medical research projects
- Genetic screening
- Child identification
- and more
FTA Packs must be stored in a cool, dry location (55° to 80° F.) away from direct sunlight. It is recommended that the DNA Archiving Pack and any your report you may have be stored in different locations for added security. The pack must not be opened or the DNA may become contaminated or degraded. If DNA testing is desired, the entire foil pack should be submitted to the testing DNA laboratory unopened.
Only if you let it! Your order is entirely confidential, and the DNA Archiving Pack you create is utterly within your own control. We suggest you keep it in a secure place separate from any laboratory results. Remember your personal storage card reveals nothing about you until it is submitted to a genetic or medical laboratory.
Watch a brief video about Whatman’s FTA Card technology!
Order your DNA Archiving Pack today!