Optimising the Protocols for Making Large Scale Collections of Silica gel dried material for Phylogenetics studies



In the last twenty years, it has become common practice in the field to collect plant material for DNA studies in addition to herbarium specimens. By far the most widely used method is to preserve the material by placing it directly into the silica gel (ziplock method). However with the advent of high throughput molecular projects such as barcoding and a general move towards ‘collecting everything’ for molecular studies, the number of samples being collected has risen sharply. This has both cost and time implications for expeditions. In recent years collectors have moved towards collecting material for DNA studies into teabags which in turn are stored in silica gel. The teabag method is more convenient, less time consuming and more cost effective than the ziplock method. However there have been cases where material preserved using the teabag method has failed to yield DNA which is of a high enough quality and quantity to use in molecular studies. As such, the teabag method is considered by some to be inferior to collecting material using the ziplock method.