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Data from: More than skin and bones: comparing extraction methods and alternative sources of DNA from avian museum specimens

Citation

Tsai, Whitney; Schedl, Margaret; Maley, James; McCormack, John (2019), Data from: More than skin and bones: comparing extraction methods and alternative sources of DNA from avian museum specimens, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0nj71g0

Abstract

Next-generation sequencing has greatly expanded the utility and value of museum collections by revealing specimens as genomic resources. As the field of museum genomics grows, so does the need for extraction methods that maximize DNA yields. For avian museum specimens, the established method of extracting DNA from toe pads works well for most specimens. However, for some specimens, especially those of birds that are very small or very large, toe pads can be a poor source of DNA. In this study, we apply two DNA extraction methods (phenol-chloroform and silica column) to three different sources of DNA (toe pad, skin punch, and bone) from ten historical avian museum specimens. We show that a modified phenol-chloroform protocol yielded significantly more DNA than a silica column protocol (e.g., Qiagen DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit) across all tissue types. However, extractions using the silica column protocol contained longer fragments on average than those using the phenol-chloroform protocol, likely a result of loss of small fragments through the silica column. While toe pads yielded more DNA than skin punches and bone fragments, skin punches proved to be a reliable alternative source of DNA and might be especially appealing when toe pad extractions are impractical. Overall, we found that historical bird museum specimens contain substantial amounts of DNA for genomic studies under most extraction scenarios, but that a phenol-chloroform protocol consistently provides the high quantities of DNA required for most current genomic protocols.

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