Before moving forward with any of the steps below please Start your project. This will provide us with the necessary information to start your project. We will then get back to you with specific information regarding sample requirement, permits etc…

Sample requirements

Sample Collection and Preservation:

Flash freezing samples and storing at -80C is the optimal preservation method for long-read technologies. For nucleated blood, we recommend an ethanol collection protocol. 

All our recommended sample collection protocols can be found here.

Please note, most lysis and stabilizing buffers (such as RNAlater) are NOT compatible with our long-read technologies.

This is work in progress and will certainly evolve. For genomics, these are our preferred sample types (in order of priority):

Mammals: (1) cells, (2) spleen, (3) muscle, (4) blood

Birds: (1) cells, (2) blood, (3) muscle

Reptiles: (1) cells, (2) blood, (3) muscle

Amphibians: (1) cells, (2) blood, (3) muscle, (4) whole body (skin and digestive system dissected out)

Bony fishes: (1) cells, (2) heart, (3) blood, (4) gills, (5) muscle

Cartilaginous fishes: (1) cells, (2) blood, (3) gills, (4) muscle

For transcriptomics: (1) brain, (2) gonads, (3) lungs, (4) liver, (5) muscle, (6) blood, (7) cells.

See our preprint for more information: "Benchmarking ultra-high molecular weight DNA preservation methods for long-read and long-range sequencing".

If any of the requirements above are not realistic for your organism, let us know and we can look into alternative strategies.

Shipping guidelines

Please read through the full guide to ensure all protocol is met for packaging your samples

Packaging Tissue

Using 2mL cryotubes, clearly label

the sample with the species name,

a unique ID, and sample type.

Secure around the cap with


Pack the tissues in a 50mL falcon

tube with cotton or tissue to

protect the tubes

Put all tubes together in a secured

bag and pack in dry ice. Do not put

any free-floating tubes in the

shipment container

Packaging Non-Nucleated Blood

Using K2 EDTA tubes, clearly label

the sample with the species name,

a unique ID, and sample type.

Secure around the cap with


If you have a freezer-safe box

available, package tubes in a grid

box and secure the box closed with


If you do not have access to the

appropriate box, please wrap the

tubes in bubble wrap or other

protective material and secure with


Packaging Nucleated Blood

Using 2mL Eppendorf tubes, clearly

label the sample with the species

name, a unique ID, and sample

type. Secure around the cap with


Nucleated blood must be frozen

and shipped upright in a freezer-

safe grid box

Secure the box with tape, place the

box inside of a bag, and pack in dry


Additional notes: Plastic boxes are prone to shattering when frozen and are not recommended for use. Include absorbent material around blood in packaging if available. If you are shipping mammal blood on the same day as collection, it can be shipped fresh on ice packs instead of dry ice when shipping from within the US.

Box Guide

The outside of your shipping box must prominently display a UN 1845 dry ice sticker and a sticker or marking indicating the package must be kept upright

Shipping Information

Our shipping address is as follows:

Vertebrate Genome Laboratory

The Rockefeller University

1230 York Ave, Box 366

New York, NY, USA 10065

(212) 327-8216

Before putting anything in the mail, please make sure you have completed the following:

For domestic shipments: Use FedEx Priority Overnight shipping. Always put the package in the mail before Wednesday to ensure it arrives in our laboratory on a day we are present to receive it. If we are covering the cost of shipping, contact Kathleen at to arrange.

For international shipments: If you are arranging shipping on your own, book with Biocair. If we are covering the cost of shipping, contact Kathleen at with the following information in addition to completing your online sample manifest as far in advance before shipment as possible:

Forward any tracking information to Kathleen at as soon as you have it available


Check with us about potential permit requirements (especially for international shipment). We have a USDA permit to import bird samples and CITES permit for all vertebrates.

Please send us information about your species of interested (scientific name, origin etc...) as soon as possible. so that we can apply to additional permits if needed.


Additional shipment instructions (import/export)

In addition to the instructions described above, please provide us with these documents/info in order to facilitate customs clearance of the shipment.(VGL will provide you with the proper import permits and an import declaration letter.)

Specimen form

Sample manifest spreadsheet to fill prior to shipping.

Shipping guidelines

Recommendations on how to package and send samples