A number of quick and effective methods already exist to prepare nucleic acid for molecular detection, but sample prep methods of the future are expected to be faster, smaller, and more flexible and automated. Laboratorians can take steps during the sample prep process to make sure they are getting the desired results. An upcoming hour-long webinar aims to teach attendees best practices in DNA/RNA sample preparation.

Stephanie Thatcher, director of systems integration at BioFire Diagnostics, LLC, in Salt Lake City, Utah, will host the February 5 webinar. “A brief summary of nucleic acid preparation techniques will be discussed. Methods are selected or optimized using the most applicable combination of lysis, isolation, and concentration techniques for a given purpose,” she explains. “Target cells or organisms, background sample material, sample size, and sensitivity of a downstream detection method to inhibitors are examples of factors that drive method selection.”

What makes DNA/RNA prep so hard is that “achieving reliable and sensitive results with molecular detection methods is dependent on a good preparation,” Thatcher explains. However, adhering to standard best practices is the key to successful DNA/RNA prep. “A few considerations include selecting an appropriate lysis technique sometimes for hard-to-lyse cells, concentrating nucleic acids for optimal sensitivity, or ensuring purity of the nucleic acids for sensitive detection methods,” adds Thatcher. “This can be achieved by selecting good methods with optimal lysis, isolation, and concentration. Each application has a unique set of factors that are important.”

Participants can earn 1.0 ACCENT credit hour toward the AACC Clinical Chemist's Recognition Award for attending this webinar, which costs just $99 for AACC members and $150 for non-members.