05 Jan 2019

Targeted Sequencing of Herbarium Specimens

Work in the lab has begun on our quest to use targeted sequence capture on herbarium specimens from the E.L. Reed Herbarium. By using DNA from herbarium specimens, we will be able to identify changes in genetic diversity over time throughout a plant community.

As part of our project we are extracting DNA from 50 year old herbarium specimens. An undergraduate in the lab, Madeline Slimp, is working with our technician Haley Hale to sample leaves from herbarium sheets for DNA extraction.

One challenge is determining if the DNA we extract from herbarium specimens is degraded, or whether it more closely resembles DNA from fresh tissue. Madeline and Haley identified a range of tissue types and specimen ages, and things are looking good (see gel image below)!

Madeline gel
Madeline Slimp, undergraduate researcher, Texas Tech Honors College, loading a gel Successful DNA extractions from herbarium tissue