Disposable Gloves – can be purchased at any drug or hardware store.
Facemask – can be purchased at any drug or hardware store.
Swabs – can be purchased at any drug store.
Envelopes – can be purchased at any store with office supplies.
Ethanol – 70% rubbing alcohol can be purchased at any drug store.
Bleach – can be purchased at any store with household cleaners.
Disposable Safety Sleeves –sleeves can be purchased in bulk at any store selling safety attire.
Forceps/Tweezers – can be purchased at any drug store.
Minimal handling of any sample will reduce the amount of probable contamination. Even if you believe the sample may be contaminated, it is important to minimize any further contamination. This is especially important for samples of unknown origin. Disposable gloves and facemasks should be worn at all times. Do not touch any part of your body with your gloves once donned. If sampling is done in a room, the room and table should be cleaned and sterilized with 10% bleach and rinsed with water. Forceps or tweezers should only be used to handle samples where possible.
Optional: disposable safety sleeves should be worn as well.
Metal instruments such as forceps or scissors can be cleaned with 70% ethanol. Anything else can be wiped with 10% bleach solution and rinsed with water.
We will decontaminate the surface of all samples once received. If you do not have the ability to send us a portion of your sample, we can do the sampling at our facility and return any unused portion. Additional shipping charges may apply.
Sterile cotton swabs can be purchased at a drug store or if that is not possible, regular cotton swabs can be used if one end of the swab is cut off (with clean scissors) so you are left with a stick and a swab.
Wet or moist samples should not be placed inside plastic bags as this will promote bacterial growth on the sample.
Blood Sample: Whole blood can be spotted into the middle of the circle on an FTA card. Allow to dry and place inside an envelope.
Fresh blood stain can be swabbed with a cotton swab. Dried blood stain can be swabbed with a cotton swab moistened with sterile water. This can be placed inside a clean envelope or a non-airtight container. This will keep it contained and allow it to air dry.
Buccal Sample: Buccal (cheek) cells can be collected by rubbing a cotton swab inside of one's cheek for about 10 seconds. This swab should be placed inside a clean envelope or a non-airtight container. This will keep it contained and allow it to air dry. At least two samples should be taken from one individual. One swab can be taken from each cheek. The DNA collection procedure will work as long as the mouth is relatively clean.
Hair/Fur/Small Flakes: These should be placed inside a piece of wax paper, folded and taped secure so they will not escape. The wax paper containing the sample should be placed inside a clean envelope and labelled. If using wax paper is not possible, the samples can be placed inside of an envelope but the entire envelope seal must be taped closed. We require at least 1cm of hairshaft/fur for analysis.
Bone/Teeth: These should be dried and stored securely in a container. They can be wrapped in tissue. They should not move around during the shipping process. We require at least 200mg of bone which is a chunk about the size of the end of your pinky finger for analysis. A whole tooth is preferred so ensure that there are no cracks or holes. Preference is given to whole teeth (molars) first, then pieces of longbone (femur), thick bones such as the cranium, or any bone sample that is available. Our methods are destructive so assume most material will be consumed in the process.
If using a preferred courier such as FedEx, UPS, Purolator, or DHL please use the following address: Lakehead University Paleo-DNA Laboratory, 1294 Balmoral Street, NO 3011, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, P7B 5Z5.
If using regular postal service such as Canada Post or United States Postal Service please use the following address: Lakehead University Paleo-DNA Laboratory, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, P7B 5E1.
International Shipments: You are required to fill out customs documentation in order for your sample to enter Canada. Please contact us about how to describe the contents of your package to help it clear customs without issue.
A Sample Submission Form can be downloaded by clicking here.