Alicia Goldman from Baylor College of Medicine and her colleagues present their approach to using alternative tissue sources, or ATS, such as fingernail clippings or blood spots, to collect DNA in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. The researchers compared, in parallel, the DNA quality, quantity, and genomics diagnostic ability of such alternative samples to conventional samples. "It was interesting to find that ATS were comparable to blood and other tissue samples that, with the exception of FFPE, are historically considered ideal specimens," Goldman and her colleagues write. "The ease of collection, storage, and lower cost of sample shipment and extraction make ATS a valuable resource to stand alone or complement other specimens that may be limited in quality, scope, or yield."
In a review in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, Patrick Murray from Becton Dickinson Diagnostic Systems in Sparks, Md., writes MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry can be used to identify microorganisms. He acknowledges that such an approach is not practical for routine identification purposes, though it would be useful for determining what uncommon microorganisms are. "MALDI-TOF MS offers the possibility of accurate, rapid, and inexpensive identification of microorganisms," he writes adding that "efforts by both users and manufacturers of commercial systems to include less commonly isolated organisms in the identification databases will further expand the utility of MALDI-TOF MS."