Coral Reefs

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 89–96 | Cite as

Efficacy of long-term coral tissue storage in ethanol for genotyping studies

  • R. Berkelmans
  • J. Doyle
  • M. J. H. van Oppen
  • E. F. Asbridge
  • A. R. Brown


With climate change threatening the future of coral reefs, there is an urgent need for effective coral tissue preservation and repositories from which DNA can be extracted. Most collections use 95 % ethanol as the storage medium, but its efficacy for long-term storage for short-fragment DNA use remains poorly documented. We conducted an accelerated DNA aging trial on three species of coral to ascertain whether ethanol-stored tissue and skeleton samples could yield fit-for-purpose DNA at time scales of 100+ yrs. We conclude that even using a crude DNA extraction technique, samples kept at 40 °C for 20 months yielded DNA of sufficient quality for Symbiodinium and coral host genotyping. If stored at −20 °C, these samples are likely to still yield useable DNA after 100 yrs. Ethanol-stored samples compared favorably in terms of DNA quality, quantity and sample integrity with those stored in an analogue of the commercial storage buffer RNAlater ®.


DNA Coral PCR Genotyping Storage Preservation 



We thank Lesa Peplow for valuable advice and early sample processing and Dr. Victor Beltran for supplying the Symbiodinium monocultures.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Berkelmans
    • 1
  • J. Doyle
    • 1
  • M. J. H. van Oppen
    • 1
  • E. F. Asbridge
    • 2
  • A. R. Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.Australian Institute of Marine ScienceTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Bangor UniversityWalesUK

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