X-Message-Number: 10406
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 05:04:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: DNA in old formalin fixed brains

w  Savioz A.  Blouin JL.  Guidi S.  Antonarakis SE.  Bouras C.
  Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva School of Medicine,
  Switzerland. Savioz:cmu.unige.ch
  A method for the extraction of genomic DNA from human brain
  tissue fixed and stored in formalin for many years.
  Acta Neuropathologica.  93(4):408-13, 1997 Apr.
  We report a method providing access to high molecular weight, polymerase
  chain reaction (PCR)-amplifiable genomic DNA from brains stored in formalin
  for many years. It consists mainly of an intensive proteinase K treatment of
  ground tissue previously embedded in agarose plugs, followed
  by a washing and an elution step. The method was tested on brains fixed and
  stored in formalin for up to 46 years. All extracted DNA show an identical
  pattern of degradation ranging from well-preserved (more than 20 kb) to
  400-bp-long fragments. This was demonstrated for DNA extracted from the
  cerebellums of elderly psychiatric and geriatric patients (of more than 60
  years of age), male and female, demented or not, with postmortem delays
  longer than 1 h and shorter than 1 day. In all these cases PCR amplification
  of a 838-bp-long beta-actin product was successfully performed when
  proteinase K treatment was sufficiently effective to generate pure DNA. Thus,
  high molecular weight, PCR-amplifiable genomic DNA can be extracted from
  brains stored in formalin for almost half a century.

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