Give the People What They Want: Standardized Methods

Unbiased Methods Are the New Standard Practice

Cotton swabs

Microbiomics is a field struggling to find its identity. As one of the fastest growing areas of research, it has provided deep insights into our health and the environment around us. However, its explosion in popularity has outpaced the methodology, leading to inaccurate microbial profiling.

Now, leaders in the field have acknowledged the sources of biased and unreproducible data and are looking for the best methods to improve accuracy for microbiome research. As the field progresses, one big question remains – how can researchers resolve methodological biases?

What Researchers Really Want: Standardized Methods

Researchers at the Center for Translational Microbiome Research (CTMR) recognized that improper sample collection and storage lead to serious biases and inaccurate conclusions in population-level microbiome studies. In a recent study, they tested various strategies for microbiome sample preservation, extraction, and sequencing in order to standardize proper practices for such studies.

Biased Beginnings

The first challenge facing any microbiomics project is collecting samples and preserving microbial profiles. The collection and preservation processes can span several years and even across continents in world-wide, population-level studies.

Scientists at the Center for Translational Microbiome Research compared the preservation capability of DNA/RNA Shield™ and two other popular preservation reagents. They tested intestinal biopsies, fecal samples, and vaginal swabs during storage at both freezing and ambient temperatures.

They found thatDNA/RNA Shield™preserved microbial diversity by preventing bacterial outgrowth and decay during freezing, thawing, and storage. The group also noted that DNA/RNA Shield™ is seamlessly compatible with downstream extraction methods and produced the highest DNA yields.

The Solution for All Sample Collections

This exhaustive study conducted by CTMR concluded that DNA/RNA Shield™ offered the best microbial profile stability, ease of use, and DNA yields. The researchers recommend preserving all samples in DNA/RNA Shield™ to limit collection and storage bias in large-scale, human microbiome studies.

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