Author: Laura Forrest Page 1 of 4

DNA Sequencing Natural History Specimens Using New Sequencing Platforms and Protocols: a 1-day meeting at RBGE 11/07/2017

Rapid developments in high-throughput sequencing platforms are providing a step change in the recoverability of DNA sequence data from natural history collections. Short-read massively parallel sequencers are intrinsically…

Testing extractions – comparing DNA on agarose gels

Looking at the capture plates from the two DNA extraction protocols that were tested on our QIAcube, it was fairly obvious that a lot more plant fragments and…

Describing your DNA

One of the amazing things about the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, is how little starting DNA is needed, with an exponential increase in the number of copies of…

Letting the robot do its job

Having got together two plates of tubes with little bits of plant and lichen tissue in them, and pulverised them with tungsten beads in a TissueLyser for a…

What’s the story when there’s no variation?

Enigmatic and isolated although it is, it seems that our Australian colleagues have now “got their eye in” for complex thalloid liverwort Monocarpus sphaerocarpus – after many years…

Bits of bamboo

In the Herbarium at RBGE, we store a huge number of sheets of archival quality paper with squashed and dried plant specimens stuck to them. These have been…

Dealing with DNA extraction protocol changes

It’s a horrible and unwelcome upheaval to have to change a protocol that works, but that’s the situation in which we have found ourselves with our semi-robotic DNA…

Santos & Stech’s phylogeny of Octoblepharum

As far as our 2013 RBGE MSc project proposal to generate a phylogeny of Octoblepharum goes, Juan Carlos Villarreal, Noris Salazar Allen and I were clearly not the…

Losing the story with a moss from Panama City

Spring Break’s a big thing in the US, and spring of 2005, Juan Carlos Villarreal and I spent ours on a road-trip down through Louisianna, looking for the…

Panamanian mosses from the back of the freezer

Several years back, I postdocced in Barbara Crandall-Stotler’s lab in Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. In the late Autumn of 2003, Panamanian bryologist Noris Salazar Allen spent a few…

Cleaning the Schistidium PCRs

Once we realised that most of our plate of Schistidium ITS2 amplifications had been successful, it was an easy decision to process them all for DNA sequencing. If…

Gel electrophoresis of Schistidium ITS DNA

  Once the polymerase chain reaction is over, it’s time to Run The Gel; this is make-or-break time, when we find out if our PCR amplification has actually worked….

Copying moss DNA in the molecular lab

After we extracted a plate’s worth (12 columns by 8 rows, or 96 samples) of Schistidium DNA, the next step in our process is to copy a preselected…

The trials and tribulations of a moss in the lab: DNA extraction

Just over a week into our current Synthesys-funded Schistidium project, and Wolfgang has picked through piles of packets of mosses, selecting the 96 that we would most like…

Campylopus introflexus, an invasive alien on the glasshouse roof

The moss Campylopus introflexus, native to the southern hemisphere, is now considered an invasive plant in parts of Europe and North America. While it occurs on some natural…

Volunteering at the Botanics – bryophytes in our living landscape

There are very few bryophytes growing in the living collections of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. What I mean by this is that there are very few bryophytes…

Building on building mosses, a return to Schistidium in the built environment

Monday 27th March was the start of a month-long visit to RBGE by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics‘s Dr Wolfgang Hofbauer, funded by the EU Synthesys Access…

DNA identification of Long’s Long’s Marchantia

Many new species are already included in natural history collections around the world, it’s just that nobody has yet got around to examining the material, recognising that it represents something…

Long’s Marchantia

Formerly the head of our Cryptogam section, and currently an extremely active RBGE Research Associate, David Long is well known and respected for his botanical work in the…

Telaranea murphyae: The non-native endemic that wasn’t

Murphy’s threadwort (Telaranea murphyae) has had a singular position in the British flora. The species was described by renowned bryologist Jean Paton in 1965, from plants collected in…