Why cant I just send in a cheek swab?
Cheek swabs simply do not provide enough DNA to be useful for research purposes. DNA is isolated from the nucleus of cells – in a cheek swab a few cells from the cheek lining are picked up and provide a small amount of DNA. From a blood sample, DNA is isolated from the white blood cells and 10ccs provide a good amount of usable DNA. Tissue samples (including tails) are almost solid cells and provide an enormous amount of DNA. However, tissue samples are much more difficult to collect. When tests are developed, only a small amount of DNA will be needed to run the few markers for that test. However, in research, the markers are as yet unknown. There is no way to know if 200, 2000 or more tests will have to be run before answers can be found. Obviously, this requires much more DNA than cheek swabs can provide.