The Barcode Blog

A mostly scientific blog about short DNA sequences for species identification and discovery. I encourage your commentary. -- Mark Stoeckle

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Non-invasive DNA recovery leaves tiny specimens intact

Rowley et al Mol Ecol Notes 2007Reference databases of DNA sequences used for species identification, ie DNA barcode libraries, are most powerful when the morphologic specimens are vouchered in a museum collection. This way, when there are puzzling results, DNA and morphologic specimens can be re-examined. However to date it has been challenging to recover DNA from small organisms without destroying them in the process. 

In Mol Ecol Notes 9 aug 2007 researchers from US Department Agriculture and Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, describe a uniform protocol for “nondestructive extraction of DNA from terrestrial arthropods” including ticks, spiders, beetles, flies, and bees. 1 to 4 h in a guanidium thiocyanate extraction buffer yielded amplifiable COI DNA from most specimens. Inspection of specimens after extraction including with phase contrast and scanning electron microscopy demonstrated preservation of most morphologic characters.

In Mol Ecol Notes 27 june 2007, UK researchers (University College, London, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford, and UK Environmental Agency) describe a rapid, non-destructive, chemical-free method for DNA recovery from blackflies, including adult, larval, and pupal forms. Hunter et al report brief (1 minute) sonication in sterile water yielded 66% success with COI barcode amplification and preserved morphologic details.

These reports are exciting in the methods they describe and in how they highlight the general value of extracting DNA and determining DNA barcode sequences as an integral part of preparing traditional morphologic vouchers. 

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2007 at 10:26 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Non-invasive DNA recovery leaves tiny specimens intact”

  1. yzhang Says:

    I wondered whether DNA extracted with these sort of method could be stable and easily -conserved since the impurity is also contained in the extraction buffer. Furthermore,can the specimen which have been processed still be available for DNA extraction for the second time after a period of time?
    Well, I’m a new newcomer and wish your asist and review.
    By the way, I like this blog very much.thanks Mr.mark stoeckle who has contributed a lot to it. I appreciate your work . Wish the blog updates more quickly.


About this site

This web site is an outgrowth of the Taxonomy, DNA, and Barcode of Life meeting held at Banbury Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, September 9-12, 2003. It is designed and managed by Mark Stoeckle, Perrin Meyer, and Jason Yung at the Program for the Human Environment (PHE) at The Rockefeller University.

About the Program for the Human Environment

The involvement of the Program for the Human Environment in DNA barcoding dates to Jesse Ausubel's attendance in February 2002 at a conference in Nova Scotia organized by the Canadian Center for Marine Biodiversity. At the conference, Paul Hebert presented for the first time his concept of large-scale DNA barcoding for species identification. Impressed by the potential for this technology to address difficult challenges in the Census of Marine Life, Jesse agreed with Paul on encouraging a conference to explore the contribution taxonomy and DNA could make to the Census as well as other large-scale terrestrial efforts. In his capacity as a Program Director of the Sloan Foundation, Jesse turned to the Banbury Conference Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, whose leader Jan Witkowski prepared a strong proposal to explore both the scientific reliability of barcoding and the processes that might bring it to broad application. Concurrently, PHE researcher Mark Stoeckle began to work with the Hebert lab on analytic studies of barcoding in birds. Our involvement in barcoding now takes 3 forms: assisting the organizational development of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life and the Barcode of Life Initiative; contributing to the scientific development of the field, especially by studies in birds, and contributing to public understanding of the science and technology of barcoding and its applications through improved visualization techniques and preparation of brochures and other broadly accessible means, including this website. While the Sloan Foundation continues to support CBOL through a grant to the Smithsonian Institution, it does not provide financial support for barcoding research itself or support to the PHE for its research in this field.