Studies in molecular ecology depend on field-collected samples for genetic information, and the tissue sampled and preservation conditions strongly affect the quality of the DNA obtained. DNA yields from different tissue types have seldom been compared, and the relative performance of storage media has never been directly tested, even though these media may influence DNA degradation under field conditions. We analyzed DNA yield from buccal swabs and wing punches harvested from live bats using nucleic acid quantification as well as quantitative PCR for a single-copy nuclear locus. We also compared DNA yields from wing tissue preserved in three media: ethanol, NaCl-saturated dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and silica desiccant. Wing punches yielded more total DNA than did buccal swabs, and wing tissues preserved in silica beads yielded significantly more total and nuclear DNA than those preserved in DMSO or ethanol. These results show that tissue type and preservation media strongly influence the quantity of DNA obtained from non-lethal genetic samples, and based on these effects we provide recommendations for field collection of tissues for genetic analyses.
Corthals, A., Martin, A., Warsi, O. M., Woller-Skar, M., Lancaster, W., Russell, A. & Dávalos, L. M. (2015). From the Field to the Lab: Best Practices for Field Preservation of Bat Specimens for Molecular Analyses. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0118994. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0118994.