The Microbiome Snapshot

a blog providing new insights into Microbiome Collection and Stabilization by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.

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Article by: Katherine Lawless

Setting standards in skin microbiome research


Microbiome researchers and clinicians use a variety of different methods when conducting their studies, sometimes resulting in outcomes that are not reproducible. Within recent years, the microbial scientific community has come to an understanding that there is a need for microbiome standardization. In October, 2019 in Krakow Poland, DNA Genotek presented at the 7th World Congress on Targeting Microbiota. The presentation focused on setting standards in microbiome and multiomics research.

“Standardization is at the heart of everything DNA Genotek does. We’ve always worked really hard to align ourselves with the right partners, the right collaborators, and the right key opinion leaders in our fields so we can work towards delivering better solutions to the scientific community.”

In the past, DNA Genotek has worked with collaborators such as the Mosaic Community Challenge: Standards hosted by Janssen, The Biocollective and DNA Genotek, to help set microbial standards in the microbiome community.

For more information about our work with the on-going Mosaic Challenge, you can read about it here.

The microbial research community is not just focused on fecal, vaginal and oral microbiome. There are a many different sample types out there that would benefit from standardization. For years, we listened to our customers and the microbial research community to learn what they feel are the most important topics to focus on. At the 7th World Congress on Targeting Microbiota, we presented two product developments our research teams at DNA Genotek are currently developing.

Skin microbiome

Skin microbiome is a very challenging matrix to explore. The human body has many skin types that have different physiological characteristics and many types of microbial loads – creating a challenge when developing a skin microbiome collection device that supports standardization. Skin is generally considered a low bio-mass sample compared to fecal and oral microbiome.

How do you overcome this challenge and provide a skin microbiome standard for the scientific community?

“With our years of work, what we’ve really focused on was that the sample processing is just as important as sample collection. We have put in a lot of time and effort into optimizing methods, application notes, and protocols so that once a DNA Genotek collection kit is delivered to you, you will have all the tools so you can actually get accurate microbiome profiles out of your samples.”

DNA Genotek presented data at the 7th Annual Microbiome Forum in San Diego regarding our skin microbiome collection prototype.  Skin samples were collected using our prototype P-189 from three different skin types, sebaceous (collected from the face and scalp), dry (collected from the forearm), and wet (collected from toe webs) and performed 16S rRNA sequencing and shotgun metagenomics.

“Given the importance of DNA yields in skin microbiome studies, we developed an optimized processing pipeline for P-189 collected samples, and show that our collection device is able to reliably yield DNA in sufficient quantities for samples using 16s/ITS and shotgun sequencing revealed microbial profiles consistent with published data, indicating efficient capture of site-specific microbial taxa, with minimum background that the P-189 prototype can successfully collect as little as 104 bacterial cells spiked on artificial skin. Taken together, our data indicates that the P-189 is a versatile collection device optimized for skin microbiome studies.”

UPDATE: DNA Genotek's is OMNIgene•SKIN now available

Interested in learning more about these upcoming products? Send us an email at

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