Contamination in the lab is a risk that we take extremely seriously. This is one of the advantages of being a commercial laboratory where we have full control over the use of our space and movement of people and equipment within the system, but it is one of the reasons that our costs are higher than those sometimes reported by academic research institutions.
We operate a unidirectional workflow from kit preparation → DNA extraction → pre-PCR → post-PCR.
DNA extractions from filters are carried out in a dedicated cleanroom facility where tissue samples are never handled, and which features positive air pressure with HEPA filters. Regular disinfectant schedules are in operation across all our labs, which includes a minimum of two daily cleans of all surfaces using chemicals that remove DNA before and after operations start. Surfaces are regularly cleaned between procedures to avoid cross sample contamination. For equipment (e.g. laminar flow hoods and pipettes) additional cleansing is carried out using DNA removal wipes. High intensity UV lights provide overnight irradiation in our laboratories, and UV light is also used to irradiate the flow hoods for 30 minutes prior to every PCR set-up.
In addition to these steps, we operate a robust quality control system where negative controls are integrated throughout the workflow to check for contamination. If any of these negative controls show signs of contamination, the analysis is repeated.
As a result of these measures we very rarely experience issues related to contamination in the laboratory.