X-ray scanning of DNA plasmids - (Oct/05/2007 )
I am after a bit of advice. I am due to travel to the USA next week and need to take with me some DNA plasmids (in TE buffer) that I have carefully been generating for the past few months. Airport security over here in the UK is still pretty tight. I know that I can take the plasmids with me in a plastic bag but have been told that they must be in my hand luggage and not on my person during the baggage check. This would involve scanning the samples with X-ray. Does anyone know what damage the X-ray will do to the DNA plasmids? Even better, does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid this? I don't want to send them FedEx or DHL as we have had some pretty bad experiences with them recently.
Hmm... google search seems to indicate that X rays will induced at least DNA strand breakage. Also some indication that there is random damage of all kinds from randomly broken covalent bonds and oxidation damage from free radicals (generated by an X ray hitting molecules) . However this is balanced against the unknown strength of the X rays used in airports. Also balanace against the fact that you have a a plasmid prep, and there are lots of molecules. You don't need every molecule to survive to retransform the sample.
Perhaps you could spot bit of plasmid on a blotting paper and keep that small piece of paper (wrapped in cling flim, place in an evelope ) in your pocket?