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Samples can be extracted from the FTA card into solution for downstream analysis. DNA extraction methods may be reagent-based (e.g., chelating resin or organic extraction), or kit-based. The ease of handling of FTA cards, with physical attachment of sample information, such as barcodes, facilitates high-throughput sample processing using semi-automated and automated punching systems.
The use of FTA for DNA collection enables your laboratory to reduce processing time while maintaining data quality. Punches from blood and buccal samples collected on FTA cards or EasiCollect can be processed for direct STR amplification chemistries in 5 minutes. If speed is not a concern, samples can be processed with standard chemistries in 30 minutes. For additional flexibility, DNA can be extracted from FTA using several commercially available extraction reagents and purification kits.
Differences in the chemical coatings of FTA cards means that DNA can either remain bound to the card or eluted using water and heat. Three options are available for DNA analysis with FTA cards: (1) direct amplification (no washing), (2) standard amplification (with washing; the so-called “punch-in” method—analyzing DNA while it is on the paper), and (3) extraction or purification of DNA from the card.
With FTA, the DNA remains tightly bound while proteins and inhibitors are washed from the matrix.
With FTA Elute, proteins remain tightly bound while DNA is eluted from the matrix.
Both FTA and FTA Elute cards are available as indicating cards for use with clear samples, such as buccal cells or saliva. These cards include a pink (FTA) or purple (FTA Elute) indicating dye that turns to white when a clear sample is applied.
The UniCore punch tool is available in several different sizes for facilitating sampling of FTA and FTA Elute cards. It is designed with a very sharp, stainless steel cutting edge to produce a high quality sample punch.
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