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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Collecting, archiving and processing DNA from wildlife samples using FTA® databasing paper

LM Smith1* and LA Burgoyne2

Author Affiliations

1 Discipline of Microbiology, School of Biochemical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia

2 School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia

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BMC Ecology 2004, 4:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-4-4

Published: 8 April 2004



Methods involving the analysis of nucleic acids have become widespread in the fields of traditional biology and ecology, however the storage and transport of samples collected in the field to the laboratory in such a manner to allow purification of intact nucleic acids can prove problematical.


FTA® databasing paper is widely used in human forensic analysis for the storage of biological samples and for purification of nucleic acids. The possible uses of FTA® databasing paper in the purification of DNA from samples of wildlife origin were examined, with particular reference to problems expected due to the nature of samples of wildlife origin. The processing of blood and tissue samples, the possibility of excess DNA in blood samples due to nucleated erythrocytes, and the analysis of degraded samples were all examined, as was the question of long term storage of blood samples on FTA® paper. Examples of the end use of the purified DNA are given for all protocols and the rationale behind the processing procedures is also explained to allow the end user to adjust the protocols as required.


FTA® paper is eminently suitable for collection of, and purification of nucleic acids from, biological samples from a wide range of wildlife species. This technology makes the collection and storage of such samples much simpler.