Establishing and maintaining the correct identity of biosamples is critical to the integrity of research studies, human identity tracking, forensics and laboratory diagnostic testing.
At the centre of the DNA labelling technology, GenCode, is a barcode that permanently identifies each biosample and remains with the sample even after it is removed from its container and eluted from its original storage medium. A sample can be traced back to the original sample regardless of its physical state.
"Acquiring this patent is a valuable acquisition for GenVault as we expand into new markets," said David Wellis, senior vice president, marketing and sales for GenVault. "DNA labelling has been an integral part of our system that improves upon current biosample labelling techniques."
The patented technology, (US patent no. 6,153,389) is used as a direct mechanism for marking biological samples (blood, semen, saliva, etc.) that are to be used for subsequent DNA analysis. This process provides a distinctive identifying label for collected biosamples in future identification.
Biological specimens are subjected to various analyses, including characterisations of their constituent deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The standard analysis methods used are: analysis of Variable Numbers of Tandem Repeats (VNTR), analysis of Short Tandem Repeats (STR), analysis of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP), analysis of Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms (RFLPs), and analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences.
VNTR and STR analyses utilise simple or multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology; RFLP analysis utilises restriction enzyme digestion of DNA followed by DNA hybridisation techniques with labelled DNA probes; and mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis utilises a combination of PCR technology and conventional dideoxy ("Sanger") sequencing in a process known as cycle sequencing.
However, problems may arise due to the deliberate or inadvertent contamination of unknown biological samples by previously collected known biological samples, or by subsequent samples due to the confusion of samples (e.g. during analysis).
To validate the potential effectiveness and benefits of their GenCode technology, GenVault recently published a peer-reviewed paper in Cell Preservation Technology (3:54-59, 2005) titled: "A DNA-based biological sample tracking method" that details the GenCode process and its uses in biosample storage.