We provide a range of DNA-based services for a variety of applications. Mostly our clients include Department of Conservation, MAF, and AgriQuality, who require high-quality DNA diagnostics. We are always available to discuss any potential project or application that requires DNA for species, population, or individual discrimination across a wide range of taxa (vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, fungi and bacteria). We also offer initial experimental design and statistical analysis for DNA-based mark-recapture projects.
Services offered (with pricing on enquiry)
- Genotyping – markers available for possums, stoats, cats, skinks
- DNA diagnostics for invertebrates
Quality results are reliant on the initial quality of the original sample. We have quite specific requirements for each sample type (see below). All samples should be clearly labelled with sample type, any relevant identification number, location (GPS coordinates if possible), collection date and name of the person who collected it.
Samples, along with a spreadsheet summarising all sample details, should be sent to Robin Howitt; details left:
Most tissues are best collected into 95% ethanol but can also be stored frozen in plastic bags and sent to us overnight in a chilly bin with ice packs. The amount of tissue required depends on the application but generally a piece several mm square is sufficient.
This is either collected into a specific lysis buffer or EDTA. This is dependent on the application so contact us before sample collection.
Hair samples, providing they have intact root bulbs (follicles), generally produce very good data. Samples are best stored dry in unwaxed manila envelopes with a piece of filter paper to absorb any moisture.
Faecal samples should be treated similarly to tissue samples above
Forensic swabs (i.e. carcasses, egg shell remains):
- After sample location, if swabbing is to occur back at the office, place sample in a clean (preferably new) plastic bag. If more than one sample is found, bag separately. It is critical that any plastic bag used has not been contaminated by another species’ DNA. Swabbing the sample should occur as soon as possible and prior to freezing as DNA is degraded by time and the freeze-thaw process.
- Prior to swabbing the sample, prepare a cotton bud by cutting it in half. Only handle the cut end of the cotton bud.
- Put on surgical gloves and with the prepared dry cotton bud swab the surface of the sample, paying particular attention to the vicinity of any puncture wounds (if a carcass). Swab around the edge and within any wounds. If wounds are not apparent swab the entire surface of the sample
- Air dry cotton bud swabs individually for approximately 24 hours. Ensure cotton bud swabs cannot touch anything which may have had a predator species in contact with it.
- Once cotton bud swab has been air dried for 24 hours, place cotton bud swab in a manila envelope along with a piece of filter paper. The filter paper will absorb moisture still present. Seal envelope.
- Label manila envelope with details of sample type and location (GPS coordinates if possible); suspected predator; any relevant identification number; estimated length of time since death; and the name of the person who collected and swabbed it.
- As soon as possible send manila envelope containing cotton bud swab to the lab.