Tissues & Cadaver Samples

Sample Instructions – Tissues & Cadavers


Blood or tissue samples are generally required for gene hunting projects. If a cat must be euthanized or has died, tissue samples or the entire cadaver can be collected for DNA isolation. If tissue samples can not be collected immediately by a veterinarian, the cadaver should be frozen. DNA degrades rapidly in tissues, thus samples should be sent frozen immediately was procured from the individual. Tissues samples that degrade less slowly include spleen and kidney and are the preferred tissues. The liver has many degrading enzymes and glycogen stores, thus liver is NOT a preferred tissue. Send any portions of the tissue that are not required for necropsy. Formalin fixed tissues are extremely difficult for DNA isolation and destroys the DNA into small pieces. Please do not put the samples for DNA analysis in formalin. Formalin fixed tissues may be required for the pathology of specific projects (see Formalin fixed tissues). Tumors should be sent immediately, but on ice, NOT frozen! Extremely important, please plan ahead if possible! We will attempt to grow the cells from the tumor, freezing will kill the cells. Insulate the tumor from the ice packs to prevent freezing. Wrap the tumor in paper towels that are saturated with saline then place in a baggie.

Instructions for sending tissue samples:

Samples need to be sent by overnight courier, thus please arrange for the samples to be collected early in the week. When you make the veterinary appointment, please inquire if the sample can be picked-up by an overnight courier from the clinic, otherwise you must be prepared to get the sample to the courier.You must package the sample as described below, thus be prepared with the packaging.

Freeze the tissue sample until shipping the next day.

If a sample can not be sent for several days, the sample should remain frozen until shipping. 

If the sample must be sent on a Friday, please contact the lab for a different address for a Saturday delivery. Notify the lab that the sample is being shipped. Please provide your contact information, especially your own phone and or e-mail address, so that we can notify you of the sample’s arrival. Please include details on the sample, such as a pedigree and project information. Many samples come to the lab and may be processed by various individuals.

Packaging Instructions:

Place the tube/tissue/ cadaver in a zip lock baggie. Label with the type of tissue if appropriate.Place the sample in a small box with many frozen ice packs.The sample should stay frozen, thus be sure to include at least two ice packs.Seal the sample in the box.If also including a blood sample, insulate the sample with several paper towels and review the packaging information for blood samples. Send samples directly to the Lyons laboratory using this Submission Form.

A Letter to US Customs is required for non-USA shipments.

Send shipments to

Leslie A. Lyons, PhD
Department of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery
College of Veterinary Medicine
E109 Vet Med Building, 1520 E. Rollins St.
University of Missouri – Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211
Lab Phone: 01 573 884 2287  Lab e-mail: felinegenome@missouri.edu

Reimbursement for tissue sample collection:

Many projects have special funding thus the cost for the collection of samples for these projects can be reimbursed. Reimbursement can be made directly to the owner or the veterinary clinic. The owner will have to provide a proper mailing address, phone number and social security number to be established as a vendor by the university. Reimbursement should take only a week or so. Reimbursement can also be made directly to the veterinary clinic if they will accept a payment after the procedure. Invoices should be sent with the samples or by a separate mailing. 

*All samples are for research purposes only. Any donations of sampling costs and shipment expenses is greatly appreciated!