[Taxacom] DNA extraction from herbarium specimens

Emily Gillespie gillel5 at wfu.edu
Thu Dec 27 16:23:15 CST 2007

I mistakenly responded only to sender-- here is my email for general 


Hi Vitor,
Our lab has used several methods that may help, depending on the age and 
preservation of the specimen.  The Invisorb extraction kit form Invitek 
seems to be good for herbarium sheets, and of course you can modify any 
of the steps such as lysis time,etc, which seems to help.  Also, we 
sometimes follow difficult extractions with rolling circle amplification 
(you can get a kit from Amersham/GE Healthcare), which preferentially 
amplifies any larger pieces of DNA that are recovered.  I have not tried 
CsCl/EtBr on herbarium sheets, as I'm not sure the results would merit 
the trouble, perhaps someone else can speak to this better.

A couple of questions: How old is the specimen, and what taxon? I'm 
curious, how are you determining the failure of your extractions? There 
might be some other things to try to evaluate them to see if they really 
are failures, but you may already be doing these. Hope these help.


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