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Two Innovative Maine-Based Companies Collaborate to Enhance Animal Welfare in Research Rodents

Waterville & Guilford, ME 9/20/2023 - GenoTyping Center of America (GTCA), a genetic testing company based in Waterville, Maine, has introduced a novel Non-Invasive Buccal Swab Service in partnership with Puritan Medical Products of Guilford, Maine. This innovative service allows researchers to collect DNA samples from laboratory animals using specialized swabs, eliminating the need for invasive tissue sampling.

Genotyping laboratory animals for alleles of interest is a constant necessity in biological research. This typically requires the acquisition of a tissue sample from the animal for DNA extraction. The acquisition of biological samples, and the repeated sampling of individual animals, requiring both analgesia and sometimes anesthesia, is stressful for both the animals and animal care staff. Finally, there is an alternative option to collect DNA without the need to harvest a fresh tissue sample from every animal.

"GTCA helps researchers by providing genetic identification of their research animals, but we also strive to enhance the well-being of those animals and reduce stress on research staff tasked with acquiring tissue samples for testing. This new service, supported by Puritan swabs, enables us to achieve all these goals," states Michael Greene, CEO of GTCA.

Using Puritan specialty swabs, the team at GTCA developed a DNA collection method that produces sufficient DNA from mouse cheek swabs to enable non-invasive genotyping. GTCA’s Non-Invasive Genotyping Service using Puritan specialty swabs improves animal welfare, makes sampling less stressful for research staff, and delivers reliable genotyping results in just 2-3 days. Researchers working with laboratory animals work to support the 3Rs in research: reduction, replacement, and refinement. These 3 ethical standards were developed over 50 years ago, providing a framework to perform more humane animal research.

  • Reduce: GTCA’s service only requires one tissue sample to serve as a control for the colony, reducing the need for harvesting fresh tissue.
  • Replace: The advancement of buccal swabs allows for the replacement of sampling or resampling approaches with a more humane and non-invasive method.
  • Refine: This method allows for the refinement of husbandry or experimental procedures.

Furthermore, with the large number of research studies being found to be irreproducible by other researchers, there is an increasing focus on a 4th R…

  • Reproducibility: Routine genetic testing of research animal models confirms animals enrolled in the study harbor the desired gene mutations, thereby reducing the possibility of variable study results caused by animals without the expected genetic makeup being used.

"From COVID to non-invasive genotyping, Puritan swabs have a wide range of important applications, and our partnership with GTCA is a testament to their versatility,” said Bob Shultz, president and CFO at Puritan Medical Products. “Using our swabs, GTCA’s experts have found a way to collect DNA from mice and enable non-invasive genotyping, without jeopardizing animal welfare. Rodent research is often the key to life-changing medical breakthroughs, and we are proud to help make that process more humane for the animals involved."

The significance of GTCA’s trailblazing Non-Invasive Genotyping Service, empowered by Puritan’s specialty swabs, extends beyond the confines of laboratory walls. This collaboration epitomizes the dedication of Maine-based enterprises toward advancing global biomedical and drug discovery research, setting an inspiring precedent for industries striving to effect transformative change.

"The life sciences industry in Maine is innovating and growing," said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. "We are glad that Puritan is working to develop new and alternative uses for their specialty swabs in partnership with other Maine businesses."

About GenoTyping Center of America:

GenoTyping Center of America (GTCA), located in Waterville, Maine, provides fast and accurate genetic testing and colony planning services to accelerate preclinical and drug discovery research and improve laboratory animal welfare. Our team has over 100 years of combined experience and expertise in the life sciences, including research and support in molecular biology, genotyping, colony management, and laboratory management. All managing team members have held various roles at The Jackson Laboratory and understand the importance of establishing the proper genetic identification of mouse models and other research organisms.


About Puritan Medical Products:

Puritan Medical Products Co., LLC, is a 104-year-old, family-owned American company known worldwide as the trusted manufacturer of single-use products for controlled environments, diagnostics, specimen collection, environmental, food safety, forensics, genetics, medical, and microbiology media industries. Puritan is FDA-registered and ISO-certified. Its products help customers collect, analyze, and transport specimens with the utmost confidence in the products’ clinical integrity. Puritan manufactures all its patented flock swabs and related products in its multiple facilities in Maine.



Media Contacts:

Michael Greene, CEO & Co-Founder, GenoTyping Center of America, [email protected]

Virginia Templet, Marketing Director, Puritan Medical Products, [email protected]


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