Van Andel Research Institute (Michigan) researchers have developed a method that can yield more information from archived newborn blood that has implications for a vast array of research, including population health studies and answering questions about diseases in infants and children.
In a study published in Pathology International, Van Andel researchers detected approximately 9,000 activated genes in samples from adult blood spots on Guthrie cards that had been archived anywhere from six months to three years. Their modified method uses commercially available tools and can be easily adopted by others in the scientific community for use on newborn blood spots.
Genetic material in blood from Guthrie cards has been presumed to be degraded because of varying storage conditions. Showing that mRNA is reasonably well preserved in archived filter paper blood spots, whether frozen or not, opens up a very important avenue for clinical and translational research. “Genetic information from Guthrie cards is a valuable resource,” said former Van Andel Distinguished Scientific Investigator Jim Resau, Ph.D. “It opens doors to examine risk factors and potentially diagnose diseases before the clinical features are present.”