Step 1: Collecting the sample
The sample is collected inside the mouth using a swab provided in your kit. By rubbing it inside your cheeks, a few skin cells are collected on the cotton fibres. These cells contain the DNA that will be used to produce your picture. Collecting the sample is painless and only takes a few seconds.
STEP 2: Isolating the cells
When our laboratory receives your sample, we use various solutions to isolate the cells on the cotton swab. The cells are isolated and purified by a series of washes and high-speed centrifugation.
STEP 3: Extraction and purification of DNA
DNA is extracted from the cells through a process called “lysis”. The cells are heated at high temperatures to break down the cellular membrane. The DNA is released in the solution.
STEP 4: Amplification via PCR
PCR means Polymerase Chain Reaction, a technique that amplifies certain parts of your DNA. Without this phase, your DNA would not be visible.
During this process, strands of DNA are separated using high temperatures. “Primers” are added to the reaction. They are designed to “stick” to your DNA. Then, an enzyme (taq polymerase) copies the segments of DNA located between two primers. This process is repeated many times and generates, in a few hours, millions of copies of DNA segments, each identical to your initial DNA.
STEP 5: DNA electrophoresis on agarose gel
The products of the amplification process obtained in step 4 are separated using an electrically charged agarose gel. This principle causes the “small fragments” to migrate more quickly than the larger ones.
Step 7: Digital image acquisition
The gel is digitalised using a camera equipped with an ultraviolet filter. The image is then colourised according to the tones you have selected.