CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Invertebrate Systematics   
Invertebrate Systematics
Journal Banner
  Systematics, Phylogeny and Biogeography
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Virtual Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 27(1)

DNA preservation: a test of commonly used preservatives for insects

Corrie S. Moreau A D, Brian D. Wray A, Jesse E. Czekanski-Moir A C and Benjamin E. R. Rubin A B

A Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA.
B Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
C Current address: Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, 730 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA.
D Corresponding author. Email: cmoreau@fieldmuseum.org

Invertebrate Systematics 27(1) 81-86 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS12067
Submitted: 22 August 2012  Accepted: 26 September 2012   Published: 13 March 2013

 Full Text
 PDF (194 KB)
 Supplementary Material
 Export Citation

Understanding the impact of collection and storage preservatives is important for all specimen-based research, ranging from morphological studies to genetic- and genomic-based research. We evaluated the effectiveness of four commonly used preservatives for their ability to preserve insect DNA for several ant species as well as the DNA from host-associated microbes of one ant species. We made replicated collections of ant specimens of different sizes and from three different environmental climates into four different preservatives (95% ethanol, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), propylene glycol and RNAlater), isolated DNA across two different time periods and performed PCR on all DNA extracts (n = 180 samples + 10 controls). Although ethanol returned the best overall results for DNA yield and PCR success, our analyses did not show a significant difference between specimens preserved in ethanol or propylene glycol on the timescales we investigated. We found that average DNA yield was significantly higher when specimens were originally collected in ethanol instead of DMSO, propylene glycol, or RNAlater™ (Applied Biosystems/Ambion). PCR results for both the insect and endosymbiotic bacteria showed a significant advantage for preserving ants in ethanol or propylene glycol over DMSO or RNAlater for room temperature storage. Our findings suggest that collection of insect specimens into ethanol is the preferred method for preserving host and host-associated bacterial DNA, but that propylene glycol is a suitable alternative when ethanol is not available or permitted.


Adams, R. P., Zhong, M., and Fei, Y. (1999). Preservation of DNA in plant specimens: inactivation and re-activation of DNases in field specimens. Molecular Ecology 8, 681–683.
CrossRef | CAS |

Caterino, M. S., Cho, S., and Sperling, F. A. H. (2000). The current state of insect molecular systematics: a thriving Tower of Babel. Annual Review of Entomology 45, 1–54.
CrossRef | CAS |

Catzeflis, F. M. (1991). Animal tissue collections for molecular genetics and systematics. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 6, 168.
CrossRef | CAS |

Dawson, M. N., Raskoff, K. A., and Jacobs, D. K. (1998). Field preservation of marine invertebrates tissues for DNA analyses. Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology 7, 145–152.
| CAS |

Dillon, N., Austin, A. D., and Bartowsky, E. (1996). Comparison of preservation techniques for DNA extraction from hymenopterous insects. Insect Molecular Biology 5, 21–24.
CrossRef | CAS |

Folmer, O., Black, M., Hoeh, W., Lutz, R., and Vrijenhoek, R. (1994). DNA primers for amplification of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I from diverse metazoan invertebrates. Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology 3, 294–297.
| CAS |

Frampton, M., Conrad, S., Prager, T., and Richards, M. H. (2008). Evaluation of specimen preservatives for DNA analyses of bees. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 17, 195–200.

Fukatsu, T. (1999). Acetone preservation: a practical technique for molecular analysis. Molecular Ecology 8, 1935–1945.
CrossRef | CAS |

Gurdebeke, S., and Maelfait, J. P. (2002). Pitfall trapping in population genetics studies: finding the right “solution”. The Journal of Arachnology 30, 255–261.
CrossRef |

Huber, J. T. (1998). The importance of voucher specimens, with practical guidelines for preserving specimens of major invertebrate phyla for identification. Journal of Natural History 32, 367–385.
CrossRef |

International Air Transport Association (IATA) (2012). ‘Dangerous Goods Regulations,’ 53rd edn. (IATA: Montreal, Canada.)

Kilpatrick, C. W. (2002). Noncryogenic preservation of mammalian tissues for DNA extraction: an assessment of storage methods. Biochemical Genetics 40, 53–62.
CrossRef | CAS |

King, J. R., and Porter, S. D. (2004). Recommendations on the use of alcohols for preservation of ant specimens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux 51, 197–202.
CrossRef |

Leal-Klevezas, D. S., Martinez-Vazquez, I. O., Cuevas-Hernandez, B., and Martinez-Soriano, J. P. (2000). Antifreeze solution improves DNA recovery by preserving the integrity of pathogen-infected blood and other tissues. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology; CVI 7, 945–946.
CrossRef | CAS |

Post, R. J., Flook, P. K., and Millest, A. L. (1993). Methods for the preservation of insects for DNA studies. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 21, 85–92.
CrossRef | CAS |

Quicke, D. L. J., Belshaw, R., and Lopez-Vaamonde, C. (1999). Preservation of hymenopteran specimens for subsequent molecular and morphological study. Zoologica Scripta 28, 261–267.
CrossRef |

Reiss, R. A., Schwert, D. P., and Ashworth, A. C. (1995). Field preservation of Coleoptera for molecular genetic analyses. Environmental Entomology 24, 716–719.

Rubink, W. L., Murray, K. D., Baum, K. A., and Pinto, M. A. (2003). Long term preservation of DNA from honey bees (Apis mellifera) collected in aerial pitfall traps. The Texas Journal of Science 55, 159–168.
| CAS |

Russell, J. A., Moreau, C. S., Goldman-Huertas, B., Fujiwara, M., Lohman, D. J., and Pierce, N. E. (2009). Bacterial gut symbionts are tightly linked with the evolution of herbivory in ants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 21 236–21 241.
CrossRef | CAS |

Vink, C. J., Thomas, S. M., Paquin, P., Hayashi, C. Y., and Hedin, M. (2005). The effects of preseratives and temperatures on arachnid DNA. Invertebrate Systematics 19, 99–104.
CrossRef | CAS |

Waller, R., and Strang, T. J. K. (1996). Physical chemical properties of preservative solutions—I. Ethanol-water solutions. Collection Forum 12, 70–85.

Ward, P. S., and Downie, D. A. (2005). The ant subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): phylogeny and evolution of big-eyed arboreal ants. Systematic Entomology 30, 310–335.

Williams, S. T. (2007). Safe and legal shipment of tissue samples: does it affect DNA quality? The Journal of Molluscan Studies 73, 416–418.
CrossRef |

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2015