Rescuing genetic material from formaldehyde-treated tissue samples

With the feasibility of using the preserved tissues for the isolation of genetic material, this will open newer avenues for applications.

Biotechin.Asia

A new, catalyst-driven technique rescues genetic material from formaldehyde-preserved cancer cells, like those pictured here, and lead to better personalized cancer treatments. Credit: AkeSak/Shutterstock A new, catalyst-driven technique rescues genetic material from formaldehyde-preserved cancer cells, like those pictured here, and lead to better personalized cancer treatments. Credit: AkeSak/Shutterstock

Formaldehyde is used in many hospitals and laboratories to preserve tissue specimens. Formaldehyde is combined with methanol and buffers to make embalming fluid. Although formaldehyde solutions are commonly used as a biological preserving medium, usually for smaller specimens, it delays, but does not prevent, decay. This method of fixation does not preserve nucleic acids, thus preventing, genetic analysis. Scientists from Stanford have come up with a solution for this problem. They have developed a technique that significantly improves the recovery of genetic material from those samples.

“The trend now is to treat people based on their genetic situation, and the problem is, the formaldehyde gets in the way of this. We’ve found a way to reverse the process”, said Eric Kool, who is the senior author…

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