Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-12 > 1166143382

From: David Faux <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] SNP Results waiting period.
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 16:43:02 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>

Everything that John says is absolutely right on the money. What companies deal with is the desire to have lightening fast results at rock bottom prices and unless the molecular biology beast is ever tamed that is just not realistic. What the U of A lab is going through right now is all too common and is not likely in any way their fault. Their descriptions sound all too familiar. A dependable marker, one that always works, out of the blue "decides" it not longer wants to co-operate. As Matt's e-mail accurately states, then the best minds in the field go to work to get things back on track. But why did something "routine" all of a sudden become stubborn? Oft times no one knows - just that by adding a percentage of this reagent or that the marker or markers again start humming along. I think comments about violins belies unrealistic expectations of smooth perfection in a field where a 2% difference in chemistry can make the difference between collapse and run. It is
often the case though that if 4% is added then amplification does not occur. Working in this sort of environment can lead one to wish that one was in the septic tank cleaning or water hauling business. At least you would know that you would go to a house, be there 20 minutes, and be able to time the arrival at your next destination within a couple of minutes. Right now the good people at the U of A are burning the midnight oil and some customers appear to have no sympathy for their plight - I do because the same thing has happened at the U of London on more than one occasion.

John is also correct about batching. The difference between red ink and black ink may be in having sufficient numbers on the plate. When the lab does a run there are only 3 of a particular product or 3 extractions the prices go up astronomically. The solution is to wait until the there are 10 or 100, but if that is the case some people have to wait longer than they think is reasonable. So the company runs the test early to keep wait times down only to find that one of four markers failed each reaction. And so on. Some people understand and some don't. It is always refreshing when someone has an awareness of what companies do in trying to walk a very thin line. I know, some are hearing violins. So be it - I hope it is a Mozart concerto in E flat minor.

David Faux.

Alister John Marsh <> wrote:
I have a generally tolerant view to waiting time for results, even if I
really "want" the results the day before I submit the sample for testing.

DNA testing is complicated by many factors, eg the subject providing a bad
sample, or the sample being degraded in transit or storage, or a faulty
batch of primers, or a failure in the test process. Testing technology is
relatively new, and the test companies clearly meet unexpected difficulties
from time to time.

A factor which may apply, is that it may be more economical for test
companies to run tests in batches. If everybody's test was run in a batch
of one, the results might be quicker, but the testing costs would probably
considerably increase. What we need as DNA genealogists, is to get the most
people test possible. Having few people to compare DNA with, would make our
DNA results effectively useless. If we give the test companies a bit of
slack, and tolerate a few delays to allow them to accumulate economic
batches to test, ultimately this keeps the price of testing down. This
benefits us all in the long run, by enabling more people to be tested.

Perhaps the test companies could offer two price options. One price to have
the tests done in batches, which might be started at intervals of several
weeks, or several months for rare tests. Another alternative price, might
be to have the results within 48 hours, at perhaps triple the price of
testing in batches. Perhaps that way everybody could be happy. That way
those complaining about delays would not need to complain, they would just
need to pay triple the price.

I feel the test companies are over all making reasonable efforts, given
consideration of a lot of factors involved.


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