Tuesday, September 20, 2011

0 How To Avoid Sample Contamination

A quick and dirty primer for those who want to ensure that their samples do not get cross-contaminated with DNA from other bacteria, viruses, etc.:
  1. Use aerosol barrier pipette tips.
  2. UV-irradiate all workstations used for the setup of master mix preps and PCRs.
  3. Treat all surfaces and tube racks with a 10% bleach solution.
  4. Use frequent and careful glove changes.
  5. Perform DNA extraction, PCR setup, and PCR product analysis in different rooms.
  6. Use clean systems.
  7. Use a negative control such as UV-treated, deionized water.
  8. Do not do bacterial work, etc. during any human DNA extraction.
Follow these simple tips, and then when others look at your research and claim that Borrelia burgdorferi could only be found where it was due to  sample contamination, point out that a number of steps were taken to prevent it.

At what point when an experiment is repeatedly reproducible does one stop saying the end result was due to sample contamination and begin saying the end result was genuine?

What other steps can you take to prevent and eliminate sample contamination?

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