Specimen quality

It is sometimes difficult to obtain good quality specimens for molecular analysis; there are often conflicting demands on the clinician obtaining the specimen to provide specimens for morphology, flow cytometry, and cytogenetics in addition. This may result in clotted or small specimens. The amount of nucleic acid isolated may be very low. Specimens may be posted to a central laboratory for analysis and be more than 48 hours old. These factors must be borne in mind when addressing the matter of sensitivity; even the best assay is reliant on the quantity of input material; one cannot assume a sensitivity of 10-5 if only 104 molecules were analyzed.

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