Molecular Biology

Understanding Cells to Understand Disease

Understanding the molecular mechanisms and processes in living cells has been critical in understanding the basis for many diseases including those of genetic origin (e.g., DNA mutations leading to cancer), those caused by pathogens such as viruses (e.g., flu, HIV, and polio), and bacteria (e.g., cholera, meningitis, and MRSA). By studying disease at the molecular level, researchers are seeking out therapies that can alleviate symptoms and even cure disease.

Critical to understanding the molecular basis of such diseases is the availability of high quality biospecimens to drive discovery efforts of researchers. In this regard, Coriell currently manages approximately 900,000 units of DNA prepared from both apparently healthy and diseased individuals. In the last 15 years, Coriell has distributed more than 250,000 DNA samples worldwide. In addition to providing quality genetic biomaterial, Coriell offers many preparative and diagnostic molecular biology services – all subject to extensive quality controls – for scientists to utilize in an effort to further ongoing research.

Coriell's Molecular Biology laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility utilizing robotics and liquid handling instruments for high throughput extraction and QC analysis. The lab uses three QIAGEN AUTOPURE instruments for automated DNA extractions from blood and lymphoblastoid cells. DNA undergoes rigorous quality assessment via spectrophotometry and gel electrophoresis. Microsatellite analysis using the ABI 3730 Capillary Sequencer is routinely performed on all extractions to verify sample origin. The Molecular Biology lab uses two Tecan Freedom EVO® liquid handling robots for the preparation of both custom-designed and catalog 96-well plates. In addition to DNA extraction, the laboratory offers RNA extraction services from blood, cells, and tissues.

Key Molecular Biology Services at Coriell

  •   DNA Isolation: Microgram to milligram quantities of high molecular weight DNA isolated from whole blood, cell lines, and tissue biopsies suitable for molecular biology applications; custom preparation of DNAs in 96-well format
  •   RNA Isolation: Total RNA and miRNA from a variety of cell lines and tissues verified for quality by analysis on the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer
  •   Whole Genome Amplification (WGA): High fidelity amplification of DNA from limited amounts of fresh or frozen genomic materials (e.g., from mouthwash samples)
  •   Gender Analysis: Gender analysis based on the detection of sex chromosome specific alleles using fluorescent PCR
  •   Verification of family pedigrees: Genotyping with highly polymorphic microsatellite markers using multiplex fluorescent PCR
  •   SNP Analysis using TaqMan or the BeadXpress Reader from Illumina®
  •   Cell Line Authentication: Microsatellite analysis of cell line DNA by fluorescent PCR and comparison to established standards
  •   Mycoplasma testing by the ABI MycoSEQ™ Real Time PCR assay
  •   Controlled-access to samples and associated data
  •   Redundant backup generators for all storage facilities
  •   ISO9001:2008 certified