A recent report published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics (Smith et al. 2014) describes a methodical comparison of buccal cells and blood as potential surrogates for brain tissue in epigenomic studies aimed at assessing the methylation status of DNA. The methylation patterns of specific genes are thought to be biomarkers for a variety of psychological disorders and may be the result of such factors such as childhood abuse, malnutrition, and traumatic stress. The authors find that DNA methylation patterns in buccal cells are more similar than blood to those of brain tissue. Certainly it is an attractive notion that permanent changes in the methylation patterns of the genetic code are at least partially responsible for some chronic psychiatric and behavioral traits, but the idea that a simple cheek swab can help unravel these mysteries even better than a blood sample is the part we find the most fascinating. [Read more…]
For years tebu-bio has been selling Epicentre-Illumina’s BuccalAmp™ system for non-invasive DNA sampling from inner cheek buccal cells. For many research studies, we find that researchers need two important things from a swab-based DNA collection system. First, the system must yield high quality DNA suitable for Next Generation Sequencing applications. Secondly, the system must instantly stabilize the sample to allow for at-home or remote location sampling (no cold chain required). In this post, I will introduce you to the iSWAB™-DNA Collection Kits.