Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

The use of DNA stabilizing solution to enable room temperature storage and transportation of buccal and trace sample swabs

C.E. Swinfield, E.A.M. Graham, D. Nuttall, S. Maguire, A. Kemp & G.N. Rutty. Forensic Science International: Genetics Supplement Series 2, 2(1), pp.183–184 (2009).


It is proposed that a DNA stabilizing solution (DNA Genotek Inc.) designed to preserve DNA in saliva samples at room temperature can be extrapolated to the storage of swab heads. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution for the preservation of reference swabs (buccal) and trace samples (facial swabs). To this end, the solution was used during a twin-site DNA transfer project assessing background levels of carer DNA present in children. Tubes containing 400 μl of solution were used to store and transport swab heads. At the laboratory, samples were extracted using the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit (Qiagen), quantified using the Quantifiler Duo Kit and profiled using the AmpFSTR® SGM Plus® PCR Amplification Kit (both Applied Biosystems). Twenty-eight PCR cycles were applied to all samples. Thirty-four cycles or a longer electrophoresis injection time was applied to trace samples where necessary. All Reference swabs produced high quantities of DNA and full DNA profiles after 28 cycles. Profile morphology indicated good quality DNA with no degradation. Of the trace samples, sufficient profiles were achieved to study the transfer of carer DNA making the solution fit for continued use in this project. DNA stabilizing solution enables the storage and transportation of swabs without freezing. This is convenient, reduces transportation costs and enables instant analysis of samples upon arrival at the laboratory. This is a useful alternative for a multi-site research project as well as a reliable storage tool for use in remote areas.

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