Sanger sequencing FAQ

This collection of frequently asked questions (FAQ) provides answers to some of the most common queries we receive about Sanger sequencing. Please contact us if your question is not covered here.

Who does Edinburgh Genomics offer Sanger sequencing to?

We offer Sanger sequencing to:

*Edinburgh University researchers

*Researchers in Institutes and other research centres in the Edinburgh area

*Researchers from throughout the UK whose science falls within the NERC science area. Researchers with projects falling in this category are invited to apply for access to our Sanger sequencing facility through the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility (NBAF).

We do not usually offer access to our Sanger technology to groups outside these constituencies.

How do I submit samples for genotyping?

Please click here to view the new guidelines.

We run ABI GeneMapper analyses on full plates only.

If you want to run GeneMapper plates, please come and see us first and we will provide you with barcoded plates and Hi-Di formamide.

Primers must be labelled with the ABI G5 dye set: 6-FAM, VIC, NED, PET.

Samples must be brought in the plates provided in a volume of 10 µl.

For full plates, all 96 wells should be filled - blank wells can be filled with 10 µl of Hi-Di.

Plates must be brought to us on the Ground Floor of Ashworth Laboratory 2 before 3 pm for processing the same day.

How do I submit samples for sequencing?

Please click here to view the new guidelines.

If you have already performed the sequencing reaction:

Samples must be 10 µl volumes and brought in 96 well plates or in 0.2 ml strip tubes. We are sorry but our operating procedures do not allow us to accept any other tube format.

The samples should be clearly labelled with your name and the samples numbered clearly and uniquely.

Do not clean your samples up: we will clean them up prior to running on the 3730XL.

If you need us to carry out the sequencing reaction, supply clean DNA and the sequencing primer.

The primer and template should be premixed to a volume of 6 µl and delivered in 0.2 ml strip tubes or 96 well plates.

For example you provide:

Clean DNA

5 µl

Primer (6.4 pmole/µl)

1 µl


Can you help with large sequencing projects?

We are fully equipped to perform larger sequencing projects – from thousands of ESTs to the sequencing of large insert clones. Please contact us to discuss your project. These larger projects are processed and costed per 96 well plate of reactions.

Where should I take my samples?

Samples from the Easter Bush Campus (Roslin Institute) can either be delivered to Roslin Stores by 9:25 in the Morning (Monday-Friday) for shipment by courier or sent via internal or external mail to the facility.

Samples from the King’s Building Campus can be delivered directly to the facility (Ground Floor, Ashworth Lab 2) or left at either the Swann stores collection point or in the Sanger Fridge on the ground floor Roger Land Building.  Samples from the Swann and Roger Land Buildings are collected at 11am. Samples can be delivered at the facility at any time and will be processed as soon as possible. 

Other users within the University can use the internal post system.

Users outside the University can send samples via the mail.  Our address is shown below.

Sanger Sequencing

Edinburgh Genomics 
Ashworth Laboratories,
Charlotte Auerbach Road,
The King’s Buildings,
The University of Edinburgh,
EH9 3FL, Edinburgh, Scotland

How much does it cost?

The following charges apply to the Edinburgh academic community as well as NERC/NBAF projects, as of August 01, 2011. For all other charges, please contact us.

Fragment Analysis (microsatellites, AFLPs)

We only run fragment analysis on full plates (96 samples).

Full plate



Sequence Analysis

We offer a range of sequencing analyses from analysis of sequenced samples (run only) to full template analysis (i.e. sequencing reaction, and run).

Run only

£1.50 per sample

£130 per plate

Sequencing reaction and run

£3.75 per sample

£325 per plate

Full analysis (plates only)

Not available

£525 per plate

We also offer bioinformatics support and volume discounts for large projects. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Prices quoted are exclusive of VAT. Please read our VAT policy (contained within our FAQs) here.

A Purchase Order must be supplied with each sample submission form by all users outwith the University of Edinburgh (unless you have a NERC/NBAF allocation directly provided to us by NERC).

Do I need to pay VAT?

All our quoted prices are exclusive of VAT. For tax purposes, our Sanger sequencing work is regarded as a non-collaborative research service. Thus VAT will added by default at the applicable rate to all orders charged against funds outside of the University of Edinburgh (i.e. when a purchase order is supplied to us). Please note that orders charged to funds held within the University of Edinburgh are not liable to VAT.

DNA sequencing is classified as supply of services and thus zero-rated VAT certificate for goods will be not be accepted as a proof of VAT exemption. However if you hold a research grant with an Edinburgh Genomics academic, you may apply for VAT relief by providing supporting documentation as justification. Documentation for VAT relief must submitted for each order, at the time of sample submission through our GeneSifter LIMS system.

How much DNA do I need?

We require different amounts of DNA template depending on the type and size of fragment:

DNA Type


100-200bp PCR product


200-500bp PCR product


500-1000bp PCR product


1000-2000bp PCR product


>2000bp PCR product


Single-stranded DNA from M13 phage vectors


Double Stranded DNA from standard plasmid vectors


Double Stranded DNA from cosmid or BAC vectors



Important note. We find that DNA concentration as determined by spectrophotometer (e.g. Nanodrop) is highly unreliable. We strongly recommend using a fluorometer (e.g. Invitrogen Qubit) for quantification of DNA samples submitted for Sanger sequencing.

How much primer do I need?

We require 1 µl of 6.4 µM primer solution for ‘reaction required’ samples.

For larger multi-plate projects, we require primers at 10 µM concentration. We can arrange for synthesis of stocks of primers required for large-scale projects – please ask.

I have submitted samples. When will I get my results?

Our turnaround is usually 1 business day for genotyping samples, 1-2 business days for ‘sequencer only’ samples, and 2-3 business days for ‘reaction required’ samples. For larger projects, we will discuss turnaround times with you before you submit your samples.

How do I access my results?

Results can be downloaded from within our LIMS. You will be sent a link via e-mail when the results are ready.

How do I view my results?

You can use commercial software or try one of these freeware programs:










I have a NERC grant -how should I apply for sequencing?

Edinburgh Genomics is a collaborating node in the Natural Environment Research Council’s Biomolecular Analysis Facility (NBAF) and researchers with projects falling within the NERC science area can apply for access to the facility.

NERC-NBAF access is awarded competitively, either through grant awards from NERC through the usual channels (when a statement of request for access to the facility needs to be made in the application form, and you should have discussed your sequencing needs with us before you submit) or through direct application to the NERC-NBAF Scientific Steering Committee. For direct applications, you should also contact us to discuss your needs before submitting the application.

Please note that NBAF also offers molecular genetic/population genetic (microsatellite and SNP genotyping), microarray and high throughput Roche 454 and Illumina SOLEXA sequencing services along with bioinformatics support. See check the NBAF website for details of what NBAF offers and how to apply for access.

I have a NERC grant and was awarded access to the sequencing facility. How do I gain access to my allocation?

Even though you have been awarded an allocation with your grant you still need to apply to the NBAF committee to gain access to your allocation. You will be given a unique NBAF number that you need to quote when you submit your samples. Application forms can be found here.

Why didn’t my sequences work?

Sequencing reactions can fail for any number of reasons. Please consult our troubleshooting guide or contact us and we will work with you to improve your results.