Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improving DNA amplification from problematic plants

Date:
January 3, 2013
Source:
American Journal of Botany
Summary:
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a common technique used to amplify, or copy, pieces of DNA. Amplified DNA is then used in genetic analyses for everything from medicine to forensics. In plant research, PCR is a vital step in detecting and sequencing genes, and its applications are endless. However, compounds found in plants often inhibit PCR. Researchers have discovered that the use of an additive allows PCR to successfully amplify DNA from once problematic plants.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a common technique used to amplify, or copy, pieces of DNA. Amplified DNA is then used in genetic analyses for everything from medicine to forensics. In plant research, PCR is a vital step in detecting and sequencing genes, and its applications are endless. However, compounds found in plants often inhibit PCR. Researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi discovered that the use of an additive allows PCR to successfully amplify DNA from once problematic plants.

PCR is widely used in plant sciences but is not 100 percent reliable. Many plant researchers encounter roadblocks when implementing PCR. For example, many plant species contain phenolic compounds that deter herbivores. These compounds are often extracted along with plant DNA and can stop PCR from working.

Graduate student Tharangamala Samarakoon and colleagues have found a technique to overcome many of these inhibitory plant compounds. They added a reagent to the PCR mixture that contains three ingredients: trehalose, bovine serum albumin, and polysorbate-20 (all three abbreviated TBT-PAR). "Unlike several other studies, TBT-PAR works at the PCR stage instead of at the DNA extraction stage, so it has promise for pigeon-holed and half-forgotten extractions that previously failed to be amplified using PCR," says Samarakoon. The authors published their research in the January issue of Applications in Plant Sciences.

Samarakoon tested the TBT-PAR reagent on DNA extracted from tropical and temperate species across four plant families, including Achariaceae, Asteraceae, Lacistemataceae, and Samydaceae. PCR with TBT-PAR successfully amplified DNA for all species, whereas standard DNA extraction and PCR techniques consistently failed.

TBT-PAR enhanced PCR for DNA extracted from fresh, silica-dried, and herbarium plant material. "Since we study tropical plants, many of which are geographically restricted or rare," explains Samarakoon, "herbarium material is sometimes all that we have available for DNA extraction, and curators are gracious to allow even a small destructive sampling for a single extraction attempt. We want that one attempt, of course, to be successful." Samarakoon predicts that inhibitory plant compounds could be the underlying cause of many PCR failures in herbarium specimens and hopes TBT-PAR will have widespread benefits in herbarium specimen DNA amplification.

TBT-PAR was first used in the PCR detection of a shrimp virus by co-author Shiao Wang and his colleagues. "The additive has also been helpful in a colleague's lab where they had trouble amplifying DNA from gopher tortoise ticks, so its utility extends beyond plants," comments Samarakoon. TBT-PAR has the potential for broad use in PCR techniques across DNA samples, species, and taxa.

The article will be published in the first issue of Applications in Plant Sciences (APPS), a new journal released by the Botanical Society of America. Theresa Culley, Editor-in-Chief of APPS, describes the new journal as a venue to "expedite the dissemination of innovative information encompassing all areas of the plant sciences, including but not limited to genetics, structure, development, evolution, systematics, and ecology." APPS publishes new methods in plant sciences -- an important niche to fill in an age of rapid technological advances.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Journal of Botany. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Culley, T. M. Changing technologies offer new opportunities in the plant sciences. Applications in Plant Sciences, 2013; 1(1): 1200008 DOI: 10.3732/apps.1200008
  2. Samarakoon, T., S. Y. Wang, and M. H. Alford. Enhancing PCR amplification of DNA from recalcitrant plant specimens using a trehalose-based additive. Applications in Plant Sciences, 1(1): 1200236 DOI: 10.3732/apps.1200236

Cite This Page:

American Journal of Botany. "Improving DNA amplification from problematic plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103143231.htm>.
American Journal of Botany. (2013, January 3). Improving DNA amplification from problematic plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103143231.htm
American Journal of Botany. "Improving DNA amplification from problematic plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103143231.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins