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Type: Article
Published: 2008-07-25
Page range: 39–45
Abstract views: 132
PDF downloaded: 0

Micrmolluscs in molecular systematics: Experiences and best practices

museology molecular systematics DNA methods voucher


The use of molecular techniques is pervasive in contemporary systematics. We stress the importance of depositing voucher material, particularly for the less well-known micromolluscs, along with images from which specimens can be identifi ed. Appropriate storage is paramount to ensure long-term survival of those voucher specimens. We detail methods of animal extraction that retain the shell as a voucher specimen, and detail salvage of radula and operculum from DNA spin columns. DNA can be extracted from freshly collected micromolluscs, but most dry and wet material in museum collections is not usable for molecular studies. Fixation problems may arise due to bulk collection of material in formalin, washing marine samples in fresh water (osmotic shock), and large surface to volume ratios of micromollusc animals and possible oxidative processes. The most successful strategy to PCR-amplify diffi cult fragments is the use of multiple thermostable DNA polymerase variants.