For Prospective Clients from Outside the University of Michigan

The DNA Sequencing Core accepts DNA samples from non-U of M scientists for sequencing, subject to certain constraints. This memo describes the conditions under which we will process samples for outside investigators, and the steps they should follow in order to submit samples.


Outside investigators are handled at lower priority.

Should the sample queue become overloaded, samples from outside investigators will be processed at lower priority than University of Michigan affiliates. We may also, at our discretion, limit the number of samples processed per day for outside clients, if legal or regulatory constraints require it. In general, however, you will find our turnaround times are fairly good.

Outside clients pay a surcharge.

The DNA Sequencing Core is intended to serve the needs of the U of M's research community. Outside clients must pay a surcharge on each sample processed. As of 01-Jun-12, external researchers from non-profit institutions are charged at a rate of $3.87/lane for single-sample submissions, and $3.23 per lane when submitting FULL 96-well plates. Non-UM researchers are not eligible for any Center-based discounts. (Price are subject to change at the Core Director's discretion, with notification given to our clients via our main price page.)

We need a signed Service Agreement from your institution.

Many institutional purchase orders have fine-print clauses that are inappropriate for a service such as ours. We are providing a scientific service essentially at cost, not for a profit. The fine print often imposes unrealistic conditions regarding liability, merchantability and accountability, conditions that make sense for a commercial enterprise but not for a service performed basically as a scientific courtesy. Consequently, we need a representative of your institution to sign a document that releases us from such clauses.

How should you proceed if you would like to submit samples?

There are some differences between what you, an external investigator, would do to sign up for our service, and what our local (UM) researchers would do. I suggest you print out this page and read it carefully, then keep the print-out close at hand while you proceed to the sign-up page described in the next paragraph.

Here's what to do:

  1. From our PI Administration system, click on 'New PI'. You will be asked to enter your personal information (i.e. name, address, affiliation, etc). Follow the steps as directed in the PI Administration pages, EXCEPT:

    • IMPORTANT! Your department should be "External (Non-Univ)".
      Please do not select the department based on *your* institution's departmental structure.
    • The 'box number' (an internal Mail Stop number) can be anything - your own Mail Stop number for example.
    • You will not be asked to enter an account number. The Core Director must do that for you.
    • Please enter your institutional email address (the PI's email, NOT that of a lab member!).
      The Core Director must verify your institutional affiliation and the validity of your email address.
    • Click the 'IBC' checkbox if you have followed all the recombinant DNA rules for YOUR institution. If you do
      not check this box, you will not be allowed to submit samples.

  2. Please do not attempt to submit samples just yet:

    You (i.e. the *PI*) should now email the Core Director and notify him that you have entered your personal information on the computer. Make sure you send the email from the same institutional email address entered for you (the PI) in our computer. Please include in your email the answers to the following three questions:

    • Do you, the PI, accept responsibility for charges incurred in the UM DNA Sequencing Core by your lab members?

    • Do you, the PI, accept responsibility for the safety of any samples sent in your name to the UM DNA Sequencing Core?

    • Have you, the PI, complied with all applicable legal/regulatory restrictions for carrying out recombinant DNA research in your institution, city and state? (There is a check-box on the PI Administration form that asks you this question as well; you must answer both.)

    The Director will check your email and billing information, verifying that you represent a valid research institution, and verifying that we can contact you (the PI) in case of problems.

  3. Arrange to have the Service Agreement Form signed by an appropriate representative of your institution.

    Dr. Lyons will send you our Service Agreement Form, if we don't have one from your institution. We already have SA forms on file for many institutions, and we only need one from each, so you may not even be required to do this step if someone has done it before you. An "appropriate representative of your institution" has to sign it. This is usually NOT the PI, but instead is someone with legal signature authority to represent your institution, typically a representative of your purchasing department.

  4. On receipt of the signed Service Agreement, Dr. Lyons will activate your account, and will notify you when you can go ahead and submit samples.

    It is highly recommended that you ask your lab members to read our Frequently Asked Questions pages at this time. Yes, there is a LOT on information there, but it can prevent misunderstandings and errors when dealing with the Core, and can help prevent you from wasting time and money.

  5. Should you obtain a purchase order before submitting samples?

    External clients may be able to submit samples without providing a purchase order up front. The UM DNA Sequencing Core is willing to accept your samples without up-front payment (with certain provisos) and we will invoice you for the work later. However certain institutions (especially US Government agencies) do not like to pay for services that were rendered before a proper purchase order was obtained. Before you submit samples, we ask you to please check with your financial administrators and verify that you will be able to provide payment in a timely fashion. If necessary, obtain a purchase order before submitting samples for sequencing.

  6. Your procedure for submitting samples is almost the same as for U-M investigators, with a few minor differences.

    • Enter the samples into our web site via your own computer.
      Write the sample tracking numbers on the sample tubes as instructed.

    • After the tubes are labeled, mail them to us. If you need fast turnaround time, you may want to send the samples by express mail. (For the address, see here).

      WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU ENCLOSE YOUR 1.5 ML MICROFUGE TUBES WITHIN A CRUSH-
      PROOF ENCLOSURE! 50 ML SCREW-CAP TUBES WORK WELL. PLEASE DO NOT USE PARAFILM -
      IT DOESN'T REALLY HELP SEAL THE TUBES, AND MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE SAMPLE
      CLERK TO UNWRAP YOUR SAMPLES.

    • After we receive the samples and accept them into our custody, their status will change from 'Expected' to 'Queued'. IMPORTANT! If your samples do not change status to 'Queued' when you think we have received them, there is a problem! Either we did not receive the samples, or we did not accept them due to submission errors! If it's the latter, we will attempt to contact you. Don't know how to check the status of your samples? Click here.

    • Like other Core users, you will receive the email results as a text file. Note that we do not print out chromatograms (regardless whether you are an internal or external client). You must download the chromatogram files from the web site and examine them using an appropriate viewing program.

We hope you are happy with the service you receive from the DNA Sequencing Core, and encourage you to contact the Core Director if you have any problems or questions.


Robert H. Lyons, Ph.D., Director, DNA Sequencing Core, email boblyons@umich.edu