DNA extraction from dry museum beetles without conferring external morphological damage

M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Wendy Moore, Linea Melchior, Michael Worebey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


Background. A large number of dry-preserved insect specimens exist in collections around the world that might be useful for genetic analyses. However, until now, the recovery of nucleic acids from such specimens has involved at least the partial destruction of the specimen. This is clearly undesirable when dealing with rare species or otherwise important specimens, such as type specimens. Methodology. We describe a method for the extraction of PCR-amplifiable mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from dry insects without causing external morphological damage. Using PCR to amplify ≈220 bp of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I, and 250-345 bp fragments of the multi-copy, nuclear 28s ribosomal DNA gene, we demonstrate the efficacy of this method on beetles collected up to 50 years ago. Conclusions. This method offers a means of obtaining useful genetic information from rare insects without conferring external morphological damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere272
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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