Temperature of long-term DNA storage

John Richard Seavitt jrseavit at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Mar 29 14:46:48 EST 1999

On 25 Mar 1999, Brendan Scott wrote:

> My lab is currently debating the pros & cons of what temperature is best
> for storing DNA over the long-term ie 10 years, etc..  It has been
> suggested that storing DNA at -20C is bad, because if it is in a salt
> solution e.g. TE, it will undergo a constant freeze-thaw cycle that will
> break up the DNA.  Manuals recommend 4C, but never say why.  While 4C has
> worked in the past, there is a tendency for a minority of DNA samples to
> grow fungi, bacteria and other colonies of lifeforms - which, contamination
> aside, will presumably be producing working nucleases as well.

Why not precipitate the DNA on ethanol and store it at -20C?  No
freeze/thaw worries - it stays in the same phase, inhibits the activity of
DNAses, and and uninvited life forms.


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