3 years ago

Sequencing historical specimens: successful preparation of small specimens with low amounts of degraded DNA

David R. Maddison, John S. Sproul
Despite advances that allow DNA sequencing of old museum specimens, sequencing small-bodied, historical specimens can be challenging and unreliable as many contain only small amounts of fragmented DNA. Dependable methods to sequence such specimens are especially critical if the specimens are unique. We attempt to sequence small-bodied (3–6 mm) historical specimens (including nomenclatural types) of beetles that have been housed, dried, in museums for 58–159 years, and for which few or no suitable replacement specimens exist. To better understand ideal approaches of sample preparation and produce preparation guidelines, we compared different library preparation protocols using low amounts of input DNA (1–10 ng). We also explored low-cost optimizations designed to improve library preparation efficiency and sequencing success of historical specimens with minimal DNA, such as enzymatic repair of DNA. We report successful sample preparation and sequencing for all historical specimens despite our low-input DNA approach. We provide a list of guidelines related to DNA repair, bead handling, reducing adapter dimers and library amplification. We present these guidelines to facilitate more economical use of valuable DNA and enable more consistent results in projects that aim to sequence challenging, irreplaceable historical specimens.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12660

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