Several simplified fixation methods were examined to determine their suitability for both molecular biological analyses and morphological study. Fixation with 10% v/v formalin alone at 4 degrees C and containing 5 mmol/L ethylenediamine-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (EDTA) at room temperature preserved significantly more high-molecular-weight DNA than 10% v/v formalin fixation at room temperature. The morphological differences between tissues fixed using these modified formalin fixation methods and conventional 10% v/v formalin fixation were negligible. Of the dehydration fixatives tested, 100% methanol did not cause regional differences due to artificial tissue shrinkage and the morphology of sections prepared by methanol fixation was preserved consistently better than that of acetone- or ethanol-fixed sections. All three dehydration fixatives preserved relatively higher-molecular-weight DNA and RNA, compared with formalin. Cold formalin, formalin containing EDTA at room temperature and 100% methanol are recommended as standard and additional fixatives routine clinicopathological laboratory use.