Friday, November 13, 2009

Plant Sample Prep for Nuclei Analysis

We don't have too many Botanists coming through the flow lab doors, but occasionally they'll bring in some electric green looking slurry of stuff and want to analyze DNA content or Mitochondrial Membrane Potential. It's really no different setting these samples up on the instrument than any other animal/human sample. But, when they start to ask me questions on how to optimize their sample prep, I'm of little help. From what I understand, the process is much like dissociating any tissue. You use some mechanical (slicing and dicing with a razor) and enzymatic processes to try and isolate the cells from the leaves. Beyond that basic understanding of what's going on, I have little to offer, which is why I appreciate this troubleshooting guide so much. A fella by the name of Paul Kron, from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) sent me his top 10 troubleshooting tips for achieving good quality histograms when analyzing DNA content from plant material. There's probably some things in here you'll think are somewhat elementary, but isn't it always those elementary steps that are lacking when things aren't going quite right? A short, easy-to-read guide like this will ensure you've thought about some of the minutia involved in optimizing your DNA profiles from plant materials. A link to the top 10 can be found here: