Ancient DNA Facilities at SFU



Ancient DNA Facilities at Simon Fraser University consist of two laboratories: the Ancient DNA Lab and the Post-PCR Lab. 


Ancient DNA Lab 

The Ancient DNA Lab is situated in the Department of Archaeology. This was an ideal location to build an ancient DNA lab as there is no exposure to extracted DNA or PCR amplification, and contamination could be more effectively controlled.

The Ancient DNA Lab is composed of three separate rooms surrounded by a central common room. The separate sample rooms are for bone preparation, DNA extraction and PCR setup.  The central common room is used for ‘common’ activities, and all the sample rooms can be accessed from the common room.

The lab is equipped with a UV-filtered ventilation system and positive airflow.  Each sample room has a dedicated set of equipment and bench UV lights.  Researchers must wear coverall lab suits when entering and working in each sample room. 


Post-PCR Lab

The post-PCR Lab is located in another building. The Ancient DNA Extraction Lab and the post-PCR Lab have been deliberately located in two separate buildings with separate ventilation systems to prevent any contamination of the Ancient DNA Lab by the post-PCR Lab; furthermore, the ventilation system of the Post-PCR lab is designed to be one-way, which means that no PCR products in the air of the Post-PCR lab can be circulated back to the building. The PCR lab space is equipped with negative airflow.  

Although contamination inside the Post-PCR Lab is not a concern for DNA work in the lab, a protocol is still set up requiring researchers to maintain a set of clothes and a lab coat specifically for this lab to prevent PCR products from being brought out of the lab. Essentially, the Post-PCR Lab is an access-restricted lab space, and no one is allowed to work in the Post-PCR lab without wearing their lab clothes and lab coat.

To prevent the PCR products from getting out of the lab space, relevant lab notes and data (i.e., electrophoresis) are only accessible via computer communication. Any physical items that must leave the lab should be carefully packed and double-bagged.


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