GeneLab: Standardizing Sample Processing and Sequencing for Spaceflight Samples


A standard operating procedure, or SOP, is a step-by-step set of instructions that guides scientists to perform tasks in a consistent manner. SOPs are particularly important for complex tasks that must conform to regulatory standards. SOPs are also critical to ensuring efficient effort with little variation and high quality in output.

GeneLab’s Sample Processing Team utilizes SOPs for sample processing and sequencing of tissues and other biological samples into molecular analytes for molecular characterization. Standardizing protocols allows for consistent results across multiple users while working with various tissue types. If an inconsistency does appear, it is much easier to track down what may have gone wrong. As the protocols are developed and adjusted over time, they are further optimized to generate high-quality data. Standardization of the protocols leads to more accurate estimations of what the end product will be after sequencing and the overall cost of the project.

GeneLab’s sample processing procedures all have protocols that are organized into sections based on the order they occur overall, creating a published workflow. They include all the steps taken by the Sample Processing Team (i.e. homogenization, extraction, etc.), starting with initial tissue storage to completing the sequencing quality control report. GeneLab’s protocols are kept current and changes are tracked by version number; the original author of the protocols are listed along with the revision date. The SOP collection is publicly available on the GeneLab Sample Processing Github page: We hope that our collection of SOPs can act as a standard for all projects processing spaceflight samples. Increased communication and consistency between different laboratories in both industry and academia will allow for better availability of omics data from the limited and unique spaceflight experiments.

In collaboration with other scientists, GeneLab launched the International Standards for Space Omics Processing (ISSOP) consortium. The ISSOP is a global consortium comprised of scientists from around the world to develop, share, and encourage sample processing standardization and metadata normalization of spaceflight omics experiments. Learn more about ISSOP at

To contact the GeneLab sequencing group email: