Empirical evaluation of preservation methods for faecal DNA


M. H. Kohn Fax: +01-310-206-3987; E-mail: michaelk@biology.ucla.edu


We evaluate the relative effectiveness of four methods for preserving faecal samples for DNA analysis. PCR assays of fresh faecal samples collected from free-ranging baboons showed that amplification success was dependent on preservation method, PCR-product size, and whether nuclear or mitochondrial DNA was assayed. Storage in a DMSO/EDTA/Tris/salt solution (DETs) was most effective for preserving nuclear DNA, but storage in 70% ethanol, freezing at –20°C and drying performed approximately equally well for mitochondrial DNA and short (<200 bp) nuclear DNA fragments. Because faecal DNA is diluted and degraded, repeated extractions from faeces may be necessary and short nuclear markers should be employed for genotyping. A review of molecular scatology studies further suggests that three to six faeces per individual should be collected.