Category: Science Page 1 of 14

Free Course: How Plants Fight Back!

Ever wondered how plants have evolved to defend themselves? If you were a plant how would you stop something eating you? Poison? Spines? Pretending to be something else? …

Edward Bulkley and the Du Bois Herbarium

In the lead-up (or is it a wind-down?) to retirement I must clear my office, including four herbarium cabinets full of specimens laid aside from time to time…

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…

Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania – Signatory to the Declaration of Independence

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has had its hand in shaping the careers and fortunes of many in our long history.  We’ve trained countless horticulturalists, botanists, taxonomists and…

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…

Cornus capitata – FED 331– a botanical phoenix

In previous Botanics Stories I have written about the joys of Herbarium Angling, but fusty old botanists do occasionally emerge into the glare of daylight and take a…

A short film on Hugh Cleghorn: Indian Forester, Scottish Laird

A short film on Indian Forester, Scottish Laird and the personalities behind it.

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…

Only 12 Seconds To Poop – But Enough Information To Understand An Ecosystem

It may only take a mammal 12 seconds to poop – but poo contains a treasure trove of information about the animal and its environment that can take…

Botanics Nearby: Privacy Policy

Botanics Nearby is an iOS and Android app that helps you learn about the things around you on a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. This page…

Original Darwin specimen – Tiquilia darwinii

The Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh dates back over 150 years to the mid-19th century and there are new and exciting specimens still to be discovered…

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…