How long will it take?


The delay in processing samples depends mostly on how many samples are in the queue ahead of yours.

Please note that we do not prioritize any of the samples (with some rare exceptions – see below). This means that your samples will be processed in turn, regardless of who you are, or what department or school you come from. We do NOT cater preferentially to members of the Medical School or any other U of M unit.

NOTE: We calculate our turnaround times based on BUSINESS HOURS. We do not work on weekends, so we do not count weekend hours against our turnaround times.

Samples are prioritized as follows:

  • Samples are entered into our queue as soon as they are typed into our computer.
  • When possible, we process the samples that have been in the queue the longest.
  • The theoretical best turnaround time is 24 hours (the time from when sample processing begins in the morning to when the results are distributed from the gel the next afternoon).
  • Realistic turnaround times are generally more like 48 hours since
    • we rarely get samples first thing in the morning
    • we can’t send out the previous night’s data until mid-afternoon; we’re too busy setting up the next runs. Furthermore, if the queue is overloaded, there may be a few days’ wait before your turn comes up. Click on the Sanger Turnaround Time link under the Submit Samples drop-down menu for best current estimates of turnaround time.
  • Some samples are processed at *lower* priority:
    • If a lab has submitted large numbers of samples, we process them in groups of perhaps a dozen at a time, so they cannot delay later samples unduly.
    • Samples from laboratories outside the University of Michigan are sometimes accepted and are processed only as space and time permit.
  • If you check the ‘Rush’ box during Sample Submission, your sample will receive expedited processing (see Can I Get Rush Processing?). You must bring your sample to certain Core drop-off sites between 9 AM – 3:45 PM and we’ll process it that day. Results will be returned to you the following day (about 24-30 hours after submission).
    PLEASE NOTE that only a few percent of our samples can be given expedited processing. If people abuse this privilege, we will be forced to discontinue this practice.
  • Some people have been entering their samples into the computer before they are actually ready. We strongly discourage this practice as it creates problems for the Sample Clerk. Samples that sit in our ‘Expected’ list for a day or more will automatically be demoted to a lower priority.