This week, I interviewed Scott Rabuka, Director of the Genomics Program at DNA Genotek for our podcast, Molecules, Microbes and Multiomics. Scott joined DNA Genotek in 2008 as the product manager for Oragene and successfully expanded the product into a complete family of solutions for global genomic research and clinical use. He is responsible for the launch of the company's first FDA 510(k) cleared product in 2011 as well as multiple new products designed to address evolving global market opportunities. In this podcast, Scott speaks about saliva as a DNA sample type, who’s using it today and how it compares to other sample types in the field, the clinic and in the lab.
You can listen to the full podcast here and selected highlights are below:
Why are researchers and clinicians considering saliva as a sample type?
“Saliva has some really nice features that make it appealing for both researchers and clinicians. First, it’s non-invasive and you don’t need a needle. At the same time, there’s a high quantity of white blood cells which are the source of the DNA in the sample, making the quality of DNA very high. Saliva also removes a lot of headaches in getting a DNA sample from a patient to the lab and then extracting the DNA for downstream analysis.”
Compared to standard blood samples, how do saliva samples change the laboratory work involved in DNA processing?
“The beauty is that it really doesn’t change the laboratory workflow. Both Oragene and ORAcollect come in a tube with liquid, just like a blood tube. You can use a very similar workflow in the lab to extract DNA from saliva as is used for DNA from blood.”
How does the quality of DNA from saliva compare to that of DNA from blood?
“It’s really very similar. The DNA that you get from saliva is the same DNA that you get from blood. You will see similar 260/280 ratios and similar molecular weight.”
What downstream technologies has saliva been validated for?
“Our saliva collection kits have been validated on all major downstream technologies including PCR, arrays and sequencing. We’ve worked with many other companies and have research studies to show the equivalency of saliva and blood on their systems.”
What other sample solutions is DNA Genotek bringing to healthcare?
“If you follow our company, you’ll see the investments we’ve made in the microbiome market. Our new sister company, Novosanis, adds urine collection to our options. Giving researchers the ability to collect multiple analytes from multiple samples and to be able to use their data to paint a more complete health picture of the individual is something we aim for.”