An examination of variables affecting the yield of DNA from blood was undertaken in order to improve sample processing and to evaluate alternative methods of mailing blood samples for DNA analysis. A rapid, high-yield method was developed for the isolation of high-molecular-weight DNA from fresh and frozen blood. In addition, the following observations were made: (1) Of the anticoagulants examined, acid citrate dextrose (ACD) solution B was found to be superior to EDTA and heparin for preserving yields of DNA during incubation at room temperature. If DNA is isolated from frozen blood, high yields of undegraded DNA are achieved after incubation at 23 degrees C for 5 days with ACD solution B. (2) High yields of undegraded DNA are obtained from blood stored with ACD solution B for at least 1 day at 42 degrees C, 5 days at 0 degrees C, or 1 month at -20 degrees C. (3) Three cycles of freezing and thawing may have little if any affect on the yield of DNA. The results indicate that blood for DNA extraction may be mailed in an ambient temperature container and, in many cases, sent by first-class mail rather than by overnight delivery services.