Author: Laura ForrestPage 1 of 5

Molecular laboratory technician and bryologist, focusing on liverworts and DNA barcoding, with a PhD in Begoniaceae phylogenetics.

DNA sequence variation within the common urban moss Grimmia pulvinata

Even with a plant as common, and as commonly overlooked, as this pollution-tolerant urban bryophyte, there is still genetic diversity to explore and explain.

Polytrichum baits: cutting cleaned mosses

Following on from the rather unpredictable results we obtained from fragmenting duplicate aliquots of CTAB-extracted Polytrichum DNA in the Bioruptor, Isuru cleaned aliquots of IK31 and IK53 using…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: the mysterious case of the vanishing libraries

When we’re working out a protocol or troubleshooting, we spend a lot of time quantifying small quantities of fluids, looking at DNA concentrations on the DeNovix, running tapes…

Polytrichum baits: Cutting mosses

We started our lab work on the Polytrichum hybrid baits project on the 1st of October, by normalising some CTAB-extracted DNA with 0.1X TE to 55 µL of…

Generating a phylogeny of Polytrichum using hybrid baits

The current Next Gen Sequencing lab project at the Botanics involves looking at the phylogeny of Polytrichum section Polytrichum, using hybrid capture. The work will form part of…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: bead-cleaning away the adaptor peaks

After testing bead-to-sample ratios of 30:50, 35:50, 40:50, 50:50 and 60:50 on a Thermo Scientific™ GeneRuler™ 50 bp DNA Ladder, using Beckman Coulter AMPure XP beads, we focused…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: testing bead cleaning on a 50bp ladder

When we made our Begonia libraries, working with (in some cases) relatively small quantities of very degraded DNA, we should have diluted the adaptors. We didn’t. Consequently, we…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: quality metrics for duplicate extractions

For one of the taxa in our study set, Begonia scottii (living collection no. 20170076), we made a few replicate DNA extractions using Qiagen DNeasy plant mini-kits, and…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: bead cleaning degraded Begonia DNAs

The set of DNA extractions from one of our test plants (#8, Begonia stictopoda RBGE accession 20170115) contained rather low concentrations of DNA. We decided against preparing NGS…

How much liverwort do you need to get 50 μg of DNA?

There’s an exciting project, The 10KP (10,000 Plants) Genome Sequencing Project, that aims to sequence and characterize representative genomes from every major clade of embryophytes, green algae, and…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: test Begonia sample quality

Keen to see the effects of different specimen preservation techniques on DNA quantity and quality, we have assessed extractions of DNA from nine Begonia accessions x seven preservation…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: Squashing Begonia

In order to look at the effects of herbarium preservation methods on DNA quality, Hannah Wilson and Mark Hughes took a trip down to our research glasshouses, and…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: choosing Begonia

The megadiverse genus Begonia L. is one of the world’s largest plant genera, comprising over 1,800 species, an estimated 200 of which are endemic to New Guinea. A…

Hybrid capture from degraded DNA: stockpiling Begonia DNA for protocol testing

When working out new protocols, it’s very useful to have a big stash of DNA to test them on. Just now, in a collaborative project with Dr Michelle…

What’s the matter with Nardia?

The leafy liverwort genus Nardia has five species that are known to occur in Scotland. Of these five species that occur in Scotland, four are described in Smith’s…

Untangling asetate Weissia species in the UK

Dr Des Callaghan spends rather a lot of his time chasing after rare things. He’s an environmental consultant with many strings to his bow, but a particular specialisation…

The liverwort genus Haplomitrium

Life gets littered with untold stories; here’s one that did get told, briefly, and then got forgotten. It was told at the Botany meeting in Austin in August…

Bryologising at Benmore

Four years ago, we took an overnight trip to one of the four gardens of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: Benmore, in Argyll (Sunday 2nd – Monday 3rd February…

Nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) primers

There are lots of different primers that sit in slightly different parts of the ITS locus, some forward and some reverse. There’s a very well-worn printout stored on…

The Systematics Association 2019 Biennial meeting (or, Things to do in Bristol)

I can fairly safely predict that next summer’s top UK destination for the discerning systematist will be the English city of Bristol. Having never been before, I headed…