DNA Project Notes



Sept 2009 - 4 minute instructional video at YouTube by Brad Larkin

In May or June 2006, FTDNA began sending three sample collection tubes instead of two. The below information refers only to two. Read the below for helpful tips, but follow the instructions in the kit you receive.

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4 minute instructional video at YouTube by Brad Larkin

See also Dave Dorsey's simple and amusing photo instructions at
See also - http://www.familytreedna.com/flash/presentation1.html

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READ THE ENTIRE SHEET BEFORE YOU BEGIN. Because, among other things, you must take two tests, at least 8 hours apart and you may need to plan ahead. Don't let "scraper" and "scraping" scare you. I tried the test and hardly felt a thing. Feels like you are rubbing the edge of a spoon on the inside of your cheek. Scraping should be done BEFORE EATING or AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AFTER EATING OR DRINKING. And AVOID WARM OR HOT FLUIDS before scraping. You don't want the DNA of your last meal or snack to get into your test results or heat to effect the sample.

KIT CONTENTS: 2 scrapers, 2 tubes of soapy liquid, a Release Form, Instructions, a padded return envelope.
See picture of the kit at FTDNA.

When you test, don't let curious bystanders hover near you and the sample as you remove it from the cheek to the container. You don't want someone coughing or sneezing on the sample.

1. Remove a specimen tube (don't open yet) and have it handy. (When I tried the test I did the scraping, then had to hold it carefully while trying to get the tube out of the plastic bag. I should have had the tube out and on the table.)

2. With clean hands carefully open the plastic wrapper without damaging the scraper. Cutting the plastic with scissors is a good method.

3. Using the cheek scraper, scrape forcefully inside the cheek many times (about 60 seconds) on each cheek. A great scrape gives the lab a great sample! A weak scrape will yield less DNA and may cause a several weeks delay.

(Now you are holding this in your hand - don't put it down on anything - while you open the tube.)

4. Remove one of the small specimen tubes, unscrew the top, and carefully place the scraper in the tube, just under the soapy solution. Do not jam the scraper to the bottom of the tube (it makes it difficult for the lab to retrieve).

5. Gently push on the plunger at the end of the applicator stick opposite to the scraper, ejecting the scraper into the soapy solution.

6. Now that the scraper tip is in the tube, remove the plastic applicator handle, leaving the scraper tip in the tube. Twist the cap onto the bottle securely. The tube must be shut tightly to insure the quality of your sample. Remember the scraper tip must be inside the tube. The tube with the scraper tip should be left at room temperature. However, it will not be harmed by winter or summer temperatures when sent by regular mail.

7. The number on your tube should correspond to the number on your Release Form.

8. Perform the second scraping at least 8 hours after taking the first specimen. (FTDNA supplies two swab kits and two collection tubes to insure accuracy.)

9. Sign the Release Form. If you don't know the ancestry of your surname, leave that other line blank. Do not put USA on that line unless you are of Native American ancestry. Please read my remarks about the Release Form (also includes link to form, if you misplace yours),

10. Send back the tubes and signed Release Form via US mail, in the self-addressed envelope provided. If payment has not yet been made, please make sure to write the Kit and Invoice numbers on the check. This will ensure that payment is correctly assigned to your order.

It takes about two postage stamps to cover the return postage (you may prefer to send it by priority mail). It will take about 6 weeks after they receive the samples before you get a result. Out of thousands of mailings there have been two cases of nervous postal workers who refused to take the package. They were confused. There is nothing dangerous about your DNA sample.


These instructions were adapted, with permission, from FTDNA. I made several modifications to the original.
Revised 20 August 2006

DNA Project Notes