University Opportunities

Method of extracting nucleic acid


Life and Chemical Sciences

Researchers at the University of Dundee have developed a novel method for the recovery of DNA from cotton swabs.


The basis of the invention is the development of a novel method for the recovery of DNA from cotton swabs of which there are many variants used depending on the source the DNA is being extracted from. The current yield of DNA from the kits is in the range of 20-40%. The kit method requires the swabs to be digested in extraction buffer for an hour or more for removal of the buffer from the swab, the addition to a silica column followed by several buffer washes and then finally elution in Tris buffer, samples are then analysed by PCR. This new method relies on one step elution by incubating the swabs in 200-250ul of elution buffer in a spin basket to extract the buffer and DNA from the swab. The collected material is suitable for direct analysis by PCR. There is an optional step of washing the swabs in 70% ethanol before the addition of the elution buffer to remove contaminants. Analysis to date has shown recovery yields from this method are in the region of 70-90%.

The Opportunity

The higher the amount of DNA that can be recovered from the swab, the better the PCR analysis to identify the DNA for associated review. Current methods of eluting DNA from swabs do not have high rates of recovery as mentioned previously. This invention can recover in excess of 70% DNA from cotton swabs in a simpler and more cost-effective process.

Key benefits

  • This method has a significantly higher chance of producing valid results due to the increased DNA yields 
  • This method is cheaper than existing standards 
  • The new extraction process involves fewer steps so is simpler to perform and analyse

IP Status

The University of Dundee has a UK Patent Application No 2020576.1 on the 24th December 2020 covering this technology.

Commercial Opportunity

The University of Dundee is seeking a commercial partner to develop this technology to a market ready product including potential licensing for industrial exploitation.

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