SPIDIA-DNA: an External Quality Assessment for the pre-analytical phase of blood samples used for DNA-based analyses

Clin Chim Acta. 2013 Sep 23;424:274-86. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2013.05.012. Epub 2013 May 25.


Background: The EC-funded project SPIDIA is aimed to develop evidence-based quality guidelines for the pre-analytical phase of blood samples used for DNA molecular testing. To this purpose, a survey and a pan-European External Quality Assessment (EQA) were implemented.

Methods: SPIDIA facility sent to all the participants the same blood sample to be processed without time or temperature limitation. DNA quality parameters performed at SPIDIA facility included: UV spectrophotometric analysis of DNA purity and yield, PCR interferences study by Kineret software and DNA integrity analysis by pulsed field gel electrophoresis.

Results: 197 applications have been collected from 30 European countries. A high variability of DNA fragmentation was observed whereas purity, yield and PCR interferences had a narrow distribution within laboratories. A significant difference between the RNase P single copy gene quantity obtained in the DNA samples extracted with the precipitation-based method respect to those obtained with beads and column-based methods was observed.

Conclusions: The results of this study will be the basis for implementing a second pan-European EQA and the results of both EQAs will be pooled and will provide the basis for the implementation of evidence-based guidelines for the pre-analytical phase of DNA analysis of blood samples.

Keywords: Blood samples; DNA quality; External quality assessment; Pre-analytical phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • DNA / blood*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Control
  • Ribonuclease P / blood
  • Software*
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Biomarkers
  • DNA
  • Ribonuclease P