Isolating DNA from FFPE tissue samples is difficult. The process of formalin fixation greatly damages the dna and the formaldehyde cross-links result in PCR failure. Because of the formalin fixation process, it is difficult to purify DNA of an effective molecular weight and quality for amplification and detection. While it is a difficulty, DNA isolation from FFPE samples is possible and still a viable option.
Certain specific measures can be taken to make FFPE samples more amenable to DNA isolation. It is becoming less difficult with time thanks to the work of many skilled researchers. Despite how the formalin fixation process compromises the tissue, DNA isolation is still being accomplished with FFPE samples.
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