We accept all sample types in which a microbial community is present. We commonly process a variety of different biospecimens, such as stool, saliva, skin, biopsy, or sputum. We also process a wide range of environmental samples -- from soil or water samples to chemical facility and sludge samples. If you have an unusual sample type, please contact us to discuss. We might surprise you with our diverse DNA isolation experience!

Unless samples are stored in a chemical preservative, they should be shipped frozen on dry ice. You can find more information on where to ship samples by completing the Specimen Shipment Form.

The amount of material needed for each assay varies. We happily accept raw biospecimen of all types to run through our DNA isolation protocols.  While we know it is not always easy to secure biological sample material, our ideal starting amount is approximately 250mg.  

If you prefer to send isolated DNA, we request 200ng of gDNA at a concentration of 10 ng/ul.  

For RNA submission and other non-traditional sample types, please contact our team directly for more details, as the type of sample can impact the required specimen inputs significantly.

If you are collecting human stool, we highly recommend our Second Genome Collection Kits. You can learn more about our collection kits.  If you are collecting stool from an animal, we have drafted guidelines to provide a few best practice tips. You can access these here.

There are a variety of ways to collect a skin sample from humans. For all skin microbiome collections, study participants should be instructed not to wash or use body lotion 24 hours prior to sampling for microbiota. In addition, they should also avoid swimming in a chlorinated pool, using a hot tub, sauna/ steam bath or tanning bed for 48 hours prior to sampling. We recommended one of the following methods.

  • Swab
  • Cup Scrub or Cylinder Sampling
  • Tape Stripping


We do our best to report results as quickly as possible and turnaround time will depend on the queue of projects, however most non-custom reports are delivered within 10-12 weeks of sample receipt.

We have completed more than 15,000 different samples across hundreds of studies. We process studies as small as twenty specimens but can easily handle studies with thousands of samples. 

Second Genome Solutions has completed more than 300 projects with researchers across nearly all fields of life science and both industry and academic settings. Many of those projects have been in the field of human health but we have also completed numerous projects in soil and environmental research, as well as in chemical industries and food safety.

Second Genome Solutions provides end-to-end research services. Our deliverable is a highly informative analysis report that uncovers the key microbial insights within your data set. Our greatest strength is in our informatics capabilities and we recommend that clients that are not seeking informatics expertise for our team source their sequencing work for a core lab or other facility. However, we know from experience that microbiome sequencing always results in large and unwieldy data sets that require specialized informatics pipelines, cloud computing, and large data storage.

While most of our projects are delivered as a complete end-to-end solution, our team does provide bioinformatic and data interpretation as a custom offering in select cases. If you have sequencing data that requires interpretation, please contact our team to see if they can help complete the analysis you need.

Yes! Our team loves to take on new informatic development projects and find new ways to investigate the microbiome. If you have a specific analysis you are interested in evaluating, a new problem you are looking to solve, or investigate a new approach to microbiome analysis, please contact us. We would love to help.

Second Genome Solutions believes that the best way to profile the microbiome, given the current state of the technology, is in comparative studies on samples obtained from well-controlled experimental conditions versus looking at one sample at a time in an uncontrolled fashion. We typically recommend at least 5 replicates per study group as a minimum starting point.

We are pleased to share our experience and expertise in microbiome study design to ensure that our clients have the right sample set and comparative analysis to address their experimental hypotheses and answer their research questions. This consultative service is included with all of our projects. We help select appropriate study group, identify the samples required to answer key study questions and help guide your microbiome research to ensure you have the right samples in place to answer your key questions.

We offer an end-to-end microbiome profiling service starting with DNA isolation and concluding with an analytical report with consultation from our bioinformatics team. We don't have an individual sample price but instead provide project-based pricing. We design these projects around the types of questions you have about the microbiome and which microbial comparisons you would like to make between samples. We factor in the depth of connection you might seek with other metadata you may have. We can work with almost any budget to design the most scientifically and statistically scoped project.