, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 329-333

Preservation of corals in salt-saturated DMSO buffer is superior to ethanol for PCR experiments

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Specimen collection is time consuming and expensive, yet few laboratories test preservation methods before setting out on field expeditions. The most common preservation buffer used for coral specimens is >70% EtOH. However, alternatives exist that are less flammable, easier to ship, and are widely used in other taxa. Here, we compare the effects of salt-saturated DMSO (SSD) and EtOH preservation buffers on post-extraction DNA quantity and quality. We found that soft tissue integrity was better maintained and higher quantities of DNA were extracted from EtOH-preserved specimens; however, by all other measures, SSD was a superior preservative to EtOH. Extractions of SSD-preserved specimens resulted in higher molecular weight DNA, higher PCR success, and more efficient amplification than specimens preserved in EtOH. Our results show that SSD is generally a superior preservative to EtOH for specimens destined for PCR studies, but species-specific differences indicate that preservation comparisons should be undertaken before collection and storage of samples.

Communicated by Biology Editor Dr. Ruth Gates