Scientia Marina, Vol 74, No 3 (2010)

DNA extraction from formalin-fixed tissue: new light from the deep sea

Ferran Palero
Evolutionary Genetics, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) , Austria

Sally Hall
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton , United Kingdom

Paul F. Clark
Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum , United Kingdom

David Johnston
Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum , United Kingdom

Jackie Mackenzie-Dodds
Department of Zoology, Natural History Museum , United Kingdom

Sven Thatje
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton , United Kingdom


DNA samples were extracted from ethanol and formalin-fixed decapod crustacean tissue using a new method based on Tetramethylsilane (TMS)-Chelex. It is shown that neither an indigestible matrix of cross-linked protein nor soluble PCR inhibitors impede PCR success when dealing with formalin-fixed material. Instead, amplification success from formalin-fixed tissue appears to depend on the presence of unmodified DNA in the extracted sample. A staining method that facilitates the targeting of samples with a high content of unmodified DNA is provided.


tetramethylsilane; ethidium bromide; formalin; Carcinus; Lithodidae

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