Research Article| Volume 6, ISSUE 1, P31-40, January 2012

Download started.


Assessing a novel room temperature DNA storage medium for forensic biological samples

Published:February 16, 2011DOI:


      The ability to properly collect, analyze and preserve biological stains is important to preserving the integrity of forensic evidence. Stabilization of intact biological evidence in cells and the DNA extracts from them is particularly important since testing is generally not performed immediately following collection. Furthermore, retesting of stored DNA samples may be needed in casework for replicate testing, confirmation of results, and to accommodate future testing with new technologies.
      A novel room temperature DNA storage medium, SampleMatrix™ (SM; Biomatrica, Inc., San Diego, CA), was evaluated for stabilizing and protecting samples. Human genomic DNA samples at varying amounts (0.0625–200 ng) were stored dry in SM for 1 day to 1 year under varying conditions that included a typical ambient laboratory environment and also through successive freeze–thaw cycles (3 cycles). In addition, spiking of 1–4× SM into samples prior to analysis was performed to determine any inhibitory effects of SM. Quantification of recovered DNA following storage was determined by quantitative PCR or by agarose gel electrophoresis, and evaluation of quantitative peak height results from multiplex short tandem repeat (STR) analyses were performed to assess the efficacy of SM for preserving DNA.
      Results indicate no substantial differences between the quality of samples stored frozen in liquid and those samples maintained dry at ambient temperatures protected in SM. For long-term storage and the storage of low concentration samples, SM provided a significant advantage over freezer storage through higher DNA recovery. No detectable inhibition of amplification was observed at the recommended SM concentration and complete profiles were obtained from genomic DNA samples even in the presence of higher than recommended concentrations of the SM storage medium. The ability to stabilize and protect DNA from degradation at ambient temperatures for extended time periods could have tremendous impact in simplifying and improving sample storage conditions and requirements. The current work focuses on forensics analysis; however this technology is applicable to all endeavors requiring storage of DNA.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Forensic Science International: Genetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Budowle B.
        • Eisenberg A.J.
        • van Daal A.
        Validity of low copy number typing and applications to forensic science.
        Croat. Med. J. 2009; 50: 207-217
        • Budowle B.
        • van Daal A.
        Extracting evidence from forensic DNA analyses: future molecular biology directions.
        Biotechniques. 2009; 46: 339-350
        • Coble M.D.
        • Butler J.M.
        Characterization of new miniSTR loci to aid analysis of degraded DNA.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2005; 50: 43-53
        • Gill P.
        Application of low copy number DNA profiling.
        Croat. Med. J. 2001; 42: 229-232
        • Irwin J.A.
        • Leney M.D.
        • Loreille O.
        • Barritt S.M.
        • Christensen A.F.
        • Holland T.D.
        • Smith B.C.
        • Parsons T.J.
        Application of low copy number STR typing to the identification of aged, degraded skeletal remains.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2007; 52: 1322-1327
        • Davis D.L.
        • O’Brien E.P.
        • Bentzley C.M.
        Analysis of the degradation of oligonucleotide strands during the freezing/thawing processes using MALDI-MS.
        Anal. Chem. 2000; 72: 5092-5096
        • Shikama K.
        Effect of freezing and thawing on the stability of double helix of DNA.
        Nature. 1965; 207: 529-530
      1. C. Gaillard, F. Strauss, Avoiding adsorption of DNA to polypropylene tubes and denaturation of short DNA fragments, Elsevier Technical Tips on-line, 1998, downloaded from, accessed July 03, 2004.

      2. C. Gaillard, F. Strauss, Eliminating DNA Loss and Denaturation during Storage in Plastic microtubes, International Biotechnology Laboratory, 2000, 6, downloaded from, accessed February 14, 2010.

        • Bonnet J.
        • Colotte M.
        • Coudy D.
        • Couallier V.
        • Portier J.
        • Morin B.
        • Tuffet S.
        Chain and conformation stability of solid-state DNA: Implications for room temperature storage.
        Nucleic Acids Res. 2010; 38: 1531-1546
        • Ahmad T.
        • Miller R.W.
        • McGuckian A.B.
        • Conover-Sikorsky J.
        • Crouse C.A.
        Biomatrica DNA SampleMatrix?: A new prospect for forensic DNA sample storage.
        in: Poster presentation at the American Academy of Forensic Science Meeting, Denver, CO, February2009
        • Clabaugh K.
        • Silva B.
        • Odigie K.
        • Fourney R.
        • Stevens J.
        • Carmody G.
        • Coble M.D.
        • Loreille O.
        • Scheible M.
        • Kline M.
        • Parsons T.J.
        • Pozder A.
        • Eisenberg A.
        • Budowle B.
        • Lee S.B.
        Storage of DNA samples at ambient temperature using DNA-SampleMatrix.
        in: Poster presentation at the 18th Annual Meeting of International Symposium on Human Identification, Hollywood, CA, October2007
        • Anchordoquy T.J.
        • Molina M.C.
        Preservation of DNA.
        Cell Preserv. Technol. 2007; 5: 180-188
        • Crowe J.H.
        • Carpenter J.F.
        • Crowe L.M.
        The role of vitrification in anhydrobiosis.
        Annu. Rev. Physiol. 1998; 60: 73-103
        • Crowe J.H.
        Trehalose as a “chemical chaperone”: fact and fantasy.
        Advanced Experimental Medical Biology. 2007; 594: 143-158
        • Crowe J.H.
        • Crowe L.M.
        • Jackson S.A.
        Preservation and functional activity in lyophilized sarcoplasmic reticulum.
        Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 1983; 220: 477-484
        • Smith S.
        • Morin P.A.
        Optimal storage conditions for highly dilute DNA samples: a role for trehalose as a preserving agent.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2005; 50: 1101-1108
        • Shirkey B.
        • McMaster N.J.
        • Smith S.C.
        • Wright D.J.
        • Rodriguez H.
        • Jaruga P.
        • Birincioglu M.
        • Helm R.F.
        • Potts M.
        Genomic DNA of Nostoc commune (Cyanobacteria) becomes covalently modified during long-term (decades) desiccation but is protected from oxidative damage and degradation.
        Nucleic Acids Res. 2003; 31: 2995-3005
      3. Budowle B. DNA Typing Protocols: Molecular Biology and Forensic Analysis. Eaton Publishing Company/Biotechniques Books, Westborough, MA2000
      4. K.J. Hemmerich, Accelerated Aging, Medical Plastics and Biomaterials Magazine, 1998, p. 16.

      5. DNA Bank Network, Long Term DNA Storage Workshop Proceedings, downloaded from, accessed February 15, 2010.

        • Lee S.B.
        • Crouse C.A.
        • Kline M.C.
        Optimizing storage and handling of DNA extracts.
        Forensic Sci. Rev. 2010; 22: 131-144
        • Walsh P.S.
        • Metzger D.A.
        • Higuchi R.
        Chelex 100 as a medium for simple extraction of DNA for PCR-based typing from forensic material.
        Biotechniques. 1991; 10: 506-513
        • Brevnov M.G.
        • Pawar H.S.
        • Mundt J.
        • Calandro L.M.
        • Furtado M.R.
        • Shewale J.G.
        Developmental validation of the PrepFiler™ forensic DNA extraction kit for extraction of genomic DNA from biological samples.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2009; 54: 599-607
        • Bauer M.
        RNA in forensic science.
        Forensic Sci. Int. Genet. 2007; 1: 69-74
        • Juusola J.
        • Ballantyne J.
        Messenger RNA profiling: a prototype method to supplant conventional methods for body fluid identification.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2003; 135: 85-96
        • Juusola J.
        • Ballantyne J.
        mRNA profiling for body fluid identification by multiplex quantitative rt-PCR.
        J. Forensic Sci. 2007; 52: 1252-1262
        • Juusola J.
        • Ballantyne J.
        Multiplex mRNA profiling for the identification of body fluids.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2005; 152: 1-12
        • Nussbaumer C.
        • Gharehbaghi-Schnell E.
        • Korschineck I.
        Messenger RNA profiling: a novel method for body fluid identification by real-time PCR.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2006; 157: 181-186
        • Zubakov D.
        • Hanekamp E.
        • van Ijken W.
        • Kayser M.
        Stable RNA markers for blood and saliva identification revealed from whole genome expression analysis of time-wise degraded stains.
        Int. J. Legal Med. 2008; 122: 135-142
        • Anderson S.
        • Howard B.
        • Hobbs G.R.
        • Bishop C.P.
        A method for determining the age of a bloodstain.
        Forensic Sci. Int. 2005; 148: 37-45
        • Wan E.
        • Akana M.
        • Pons J.
        • Chen J.
        • Musone S.
        • Kwok P.Y.
        • Liao W.
        Green technologies for room temperature nucleic acid storage.
        Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. 2009; 12: 135-142
        • Hernandez G.E.
        • Mondala T.S.
        • Head S.R.
        Assessing a novel room-temperature RNA storage medium for compatibility in microarray gene expression analysis.
        Biotechniques. 2009; 47: 667-668
        • Wilkinson S.P.
        • Stassinopoulos A.
        • Shireen L.
        • Berner A.
        • Kostovic M.
        • Black F.
        • Cohen R.
        • et al.
        Impact of collection, stabilization and isolation of bovine ear punches on high and low density genotyping arrays.
        Int. Soc. Anim. Genet. 2010; (downloaded from) (accessed on 08/28/10)