Collaborator Release

Zymo Research Recognized by NASA for its Support of Research Aboard the International Space Station

DNA/RNA Shield™ Protects Biological Samples Even in Space

IRVINE, Calif., June 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Zymo Research recently received recognition and appreciation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Human Research Program for their support and involvement in the development of a specialized DNA/RNA Shield Swab Collection Device. This device is a critical component for the research being conducted by The Human Health Countermeasures (HHC) Collaborative aboard the International Space Station. The HHC's aim is to develop strategies and technologies to mitigate health risks related to spaceflight.

Zymo Research received recognition from NASA for their cooperation and dedication in the development of a unique sample collection tube to support human research aboard the International Space Station.

"We wanted to investigate the 'active' human microbiome of astronauts," said Dr. Hernan Lorenzi, the principal investigator of the study at the J. Craig Venter Institute.  He continued, "By doing so, we can employ prebiotic or probiotic countermeasures to prevent or remedy ailments associated with the physiological changes introduced during spaceflight. What's tricky in conducting such an experiment is that RNA is a fragile molecule. Accessibility to liquid nitrogen in space is just not feasible. Fortunately, the solution from Zymo Research, DNA/RNA Shield, worked well." The DNA/RNA Shield™ device was a critical component for providing safe containment and maintaining the integrity of collected samples for later downstream molecular analysis, which was a requirement by the Johnson Space Center Safety Panel's research.

The methodology used to collect and store fecal samples can heavily influence the analysis of DNA and RNA. Without proper stabilization of nucleic acids and adequate inactivation of nucleases, samples may become degraded or compromised, which, in turn, may cause a misrepresentation of the data gathered from genetic and expression testing. To solve this problem, the scientists at Zymo Research developed the DNA/RNA Shield preservation solution. This preservative is available for custom filling or in an assortment of collection devices that enable swab collection of saliva, blood, feces, soil, sludge, and wastewater samples. Specimens collected into the preservative can be stored at ambient temperature for many weeks. In addition, pathogen inactivation allows the samples to be safely transported and shipped. By eliminating the need to remove the reagent for DNA/RNA purification, the process has been streamlined even further making the collected samples amenable to just about any commercially available manual or automated workflow.

"The DNA/RNA Shield technology is enabling research by opening up many new markets that have been classically challenged due to an unavailability of cold chain storage and the degradation of DNA and RNA analytes of interest, particularly in collected fecal specimens," said Dr. Marc Van Eden, Vice President of Business Development at Zymo Research. "The DNA/RNA Shield technology is well suited for metagenomic and microbiomic analyses and can assist in the reproducibility of data generated on collected samples in different locations of the world. Additionally, the preservation technology is poised to facilitate the next era microbial study, that is, functional microbiomics. This product may, due in part to its unparalleled preservation of RNA, provide insight into, not only which microbes inhabit a particular niche, but also what they may be doing within a particular community."

For more information about Zymo Research's DNA/RNA Shield and collection devices, go to their website.