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SUDC Insights

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SUDC Insights is the official blog of the SUDC Foundation which shares and discusses issues important to the understanding and the ultimate prevention of SUDC. If you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed in SUDC Insights, please let us know at sudcinsights@sudc.org.

Understanding DNA Banking

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What is DNA Banking? 

DNA Banking is where a biospecimen viable for DNA extraction is obtained from an individual.  DNA is extracted from that biospecimen, stored and preserved for future use. 

Why is DNA Banking Important? 

DNA left unpreserved or in an unextracted state is susceptible to degradation. This means the DNA will breakdown and become less viable for genetic testing. Knowing how much DNA is available and the quality of it, will allow parents to make informed decisions on its use. 

 

What is DNA? 

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is the unique genetic make-up of an individual. It’s a self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information. Chromosomes are threadlike structures of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes. . The majority of DNA is found in the nucleus of a cell but some can also be found within the mitochondria of a cell as well. Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. DNA holds information stored as a code made up of chemical bases. There are about 3 billion bases in Human DNA and nearly all those bases are the same in every person. The order of the bases determines what information is available. 

 

Why do we encourage DNA Banking? 

DNA Banking provides parents with an opportunity to pursue more information about their child's death. As clinical testing advances and research options improve, parents may want to access these opportunities. Securing a genetic specimen (DNA) from your child may provide: 

  • the opportunity for genetic testing to uncover specific cause of death and appropriate testing of family 

  • the opportunity for genetic testing to provide negative results - which may assist in decreasing some anxiety 

  • Instill hope for cases that currently defy understanding 

  • Allow for participation in present or future research 

  • Allow families to benefit from potential benefit of future discoveries 

 

We also encourage parents who wish to bank to pursue it as soon as possible because every Medical Examiner/Coroner’s office has a different retention policy for how long they will store these types of specimens.  DNA Banking will provide you with more time to explore genetic testing opportunities.  

 

Learn more about DNA Banking on our website: 

https://sudc.org/research-medical-info/dna-banking-information 

 

Please look for next week’s topic: Understanding Genetics 


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