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The value of museum collections for development of DNA barcode libraries
Date:12/30/2013

d deposited in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden were selected. For each target species, a series of increasingly older specimens was selected and brought to the lab for DNA sequencing. This was supplemented with freshly collected material representing nearly 150 Dutch spider species. The scientists recorded which specimens successfully produced DNA barcode sequences and which failed. They also experimented with DNA extraction techniques.

Typically, DNA extraction begins with the removal of muscle tissue; this is destructive extraction. An alternative approach is to soak the specimen in a solution that releases DNA from cells but does little or no damage to anatomy; this is nondestructive extraction. They found that failure rates for DNA barcode sequencing rise with time since collection, but body size is also a significant factor.

For freshly collected specimens overall, body size is not a predictor of sequencing success or failure. But larger species have a longer DNA barcoding shelf life than smaller species. Nondestructuve extraction techniques can significantly improve the chances of obtaining a DNA barcode sequence. Considering only the commonly applied destructive extraction method, small spiders are useful for only a few years while those with a body length of around 3 mm or more have a good chance of yielding a barcode sequence for about 20 years after collection.

But using nondestructive extraction, even small spiders with a body length of 4 mm or less have a good chance of yielding a DNA barcode sequence for about 15 years after collection while spiders above this size can yield barcode sequences for a considerably longer time. The success of nondestructive extraction demonstrated here coupled with the need to preserve museum specimens for a variety of research purposes bodes well for museum collections are source material for DNA barcode libraries.


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Contact: Jeremy A. Miller
jeremy.miller@naturalis.nl
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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