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Open Access Methodology article

A minimally invasive method of piscine tissue collection and an analysis of long-term field-storage conditions for samples

James J Campanella1* and John V Smalley2

Author Affiliations

1 Montclair State University, Department of Biology and Molecular Biology, 1 Normal Avenue, Upper Montclair, New Jersey 07043, USA

2 Bergen Community College, Department of Science and Technology, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey 07652, USA

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BMC Genetics 2006, 7:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-7-32

Published: 30 May 2006



The acquisition of high-quality DNA for use in phylogenetic and molecular population genetic studies is a primary concern for evolutionary and genetic researchers. Many non-destructive DNA sampling methods have been developed and are used with a variety of taxa in applications ranging from genetic stock assessment to molecular forensics.


The authors have developed a field sampling method for obtaining high-quality DNA from sunfish (Lepomis) and other freshwater fish that employs a variation on the buccal swab method and results in the collection of DNA suitable for PCR amplification and polymorphism analysis. Additionally, since the circumstances of storage are always a concern for field biologists, the authors have tested the potential storage conditions of swabbed samples and whether those conditions affect DNA extraction and PCR amplification. It was found that samples stored at room temperature in the dark for over 200 days could still yield DNA suitable for PCR amplification and polymorphism detection.


These findings suggest that valuable molecular genetic data may be obtained from tissues that have not been treated or stored under optimal field conditions. Furthermore, it is clear that the lack of adequately low temperatures during transport and long term storage should not be a barrier to anyone wishing to engage in field-based molecular genetic research.