Sample tube papooses

Reposted from Google+


Thursday night I stayed late with Pete and helped him unpack and scan in two plates worth of returned saliva kits (192 packages) for the ongoing saliva collections in the Harvard Personal Genome Project. In any set this large, you’ll find several interesting unique incidents — some troubling, others heart-warming.

This is a photo of the latter case — a participant carefully stitched the included absorbant pads to create adorable snug coats for both of the sample tubes! Also included was a great letter. The amount of concern participants have for their kits encourages me to continue working hard, even though we’re already terribly overworked as it is.

But please — don’t worry about doing anything like this — you don’t need to put extra work into it, the kits are cheap and fairly robust. Also, despite the project title, we don’t have the resources to give each kit much personal attention, unpacking is an assembly line. Including a letter or any other item is very likely to be missed, as we cut the whole package in half and extract the tubes. We might cut your letter in half, or won’t notice it at the bottom — the letters we did find might have been missed if it weren’t for something else about the unpackaging (like these sample tube papooses) prompting us to look more closely. Send us email instead, or a separate letter! :-)

Things that aren’t so cool: failing to claim your kit, overfilling the tubes to the brim rather than the clearly marked fill line, and… random included items that make us wonder if you’re sending us anthrax (I’m sure it was harmless…)!

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