I am considering preserving the DNA of a family member who passed away. The funeral home offers a service called DNA Memories from a Canadian company (CG Labs). They have two options: Store the DNA in their secure temperature-controlled facility, or "home DNA banking", where they somehow preserve the DNA such that it can be stored without damage "indefinitely", at room temperature. This is how they describe the technology:

"The DNA is bound to a substrate and sealed under nitrogen gas with out patent pending process. This process allows the DNA to remain in a state of suspended animation and if the vial remains sealed the DNA has an indefinite shelf life. The DNA Memorial Home Banking may be banked in non extreme conditions and room temperature for future testing at home."

My question is basically this: Is there any scientific merit to their claims (i.e. is there anything peer-reviewed on the subject of room-temperature DNA preservation for many years, using technology such as the one they describe)? Can DNA preserved in such a way really be tested later in regular DNA testing labs (or will I need a specialized lab that knows how to deal with this unique process)? Is there any possibility of a full sequencing later of DNA stored in such a fashion?

  • $\begingroup$ If you would like to sequence this family member's DNA, why not sequence a sample now? Without a link, I'm not sure how to evaluate their process, but I would be skeptical. When I'm banking a DNA sample for future, unknown testing, I store it at -80 C. $\endgroup$ – De Novo Sep 12 '18 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ I worked with museum specimens that were 40 years old, and dried, they were fine. They sequenced the Neanderthal genome. In my experience, DNA can be safely stored at room temperature. $\endgroup$ – Karl Kjer Sep 13 '18 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ DNA is already a pretty stable molecule. Storing it under N2 sounds like they have it precipitated form (i.e. lyophilised) - I would expect lyophilised DNA in a N2-only enviroment to last for a very long time. The biggest issue for using it later would probably be UV light exposure and physical fragmentation (which isn't a big problem for sequencing though). $\endgroup$ – Nicolai Sep 14 '18 at 14:31

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