Process, Frequently Asked Questions

I got my TeloMe saliva collection kit in the mail. What is the liquid in each of the vials?

Each saliva collection vial in our kit has been pre-filled with a small amount of preservative. Its purpose is to protect the DNA from degradation during transportation and processing. Once you have filled the remainder of the vial (to the “fill line”) with saliva, please use the blue-dotted cap (which has been treated with another preservative) to seal the vial, and immediately mix your sample before returning it to us.

My saliva collection kit includes two vials. Should I fill both vials at once?

No. We recommend separating your collections by at least several hours, or even a day. This helps ensure that each sample contains enough high-quality, intact human DNA, which is necessary for telomere analyses. Please also be sure to follow the included collection guidelines for both collections (which advise against eating, drinking, chewing gum, brushing teeth, and other activities for several hours before collecting a sample).

How long is turnaround time, and why isn’t it guaranteed?

Multiple factors govern turnaround time and we cannot guarantee or estimate how long your specific samples might require to produce high quality data. We are able to return results for typical samples about eight weeks after we receive the samples. However, more challenging samples can take longer to process into high-quality data. As we continue to make progress in processing these samples, turnaround time will decrease. Nevertheless, unlike other genetic & genomic analyses, telomere analysis requires non-degraded, intact DNA in sufficient quantity to yield a reliable result. Saliva contains a substantial amount of degraded human DNA, as well as non-human DNA (mostly microbial), and we have to separate these components out of every sample before we are able to proceed with telomere analysis. Some samples don’t contain enough of this high-quality DNA for us to generate high-quality results. When this is the case, we provide a sample re-collection kit free of charge and move re-collected samples to the front of our processing queue in order to return results as soon as possible (although final processing still takes a few weeks). We’ve written guidelines for sample collection to help ensure the best chances of success in our process. If we are unable to produce high-quality data from any of your samples we will provide you with a full refund.

What is the technical difference between TeloMe and other personalized genetic & genomic service companies, such as 23andMe?

Services such as 23andMe and analyze the content of an individual’s genome, including genes and other regions of their chromosomes, but do not analyze telomeres. They amplify DNA and detect variations in the DNA sequence on specially designed optical chips. Since telomeres are made up of numerous repeated sequences, standard DNA sequencing or chip-based technologies cannot be used to measure telomere length. TeloMe has pioneered technology that enables us to analyze the telomeric region of a person’s chromosomes. These other analyses of simple genetic variation work fine with highly degraded DNA. However, telomere measurement requires non-degraded, intact human DNA in order to generate high-quality results.