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Staats M.,Wageningen University | Cuenca A.,Copenhagen University | Richardson J.E.,Tropical Diversity Section | Richardson J.E.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Dried plant herbarium specimens are potentially a valuable source of DNA. Efforts to obtain genetic information from this source are often hindered by an inability to obtain amplifiable DNA as herbarium DNA is typically highly degraded. DNA post-mortem damage may not only reduce the number of amplifiable template molecules, but may also lead to the generation of erroneous sequence information. A qualitative and quantitative assessment of DNA post-mortem damage is essential to determine the accuracy of molecular data from herbarium specimens. In this study we present an assessment of DNA damage as miscoding lesions in herbarium specimens using 454-sequencing of amplicons derived from plastid, mitochondrial, and nuclear DNA. In addition, we assess DNA degradation as a result of strand breaks and other types of polymerase non-bypassable damage by quantitative real-time PCR. Comparing four pairs of fresh and herbarium specimens of the same individuals we quantitatively assess post-mortem DNA damage, directly after specimen preparation, as well as after long-term herbarium storage. After specimen preparation we estimate the proportion of gene copy numbers of plastid, mitochondrial, and nuclear DNA to be 2.4-3.8% of fresh control DNA and 1.0-1.3% after long-term herbarium storage, indicating that nearly all DNA damage occurs on specimen preparation. In addition, there is no evidence of preferential degradation of organelle versus nuclear genomes. Increased levels of C→T/G→A transitions were observed in old herbarium plastid DNA, representing 21.8% of observed miscoding lesions. We interpret this type of post-mortem DNA damage-derived modification to have arisen from the hydrolytic deamination of cytosine during long-term herbarium storage. Our results suggest that reliable sequence data can be obtained from herbarium specimens. © 2011 Staats et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Barlow J.,Lancaster University | Ewers R.M.,Imperial College London | Anderson L.,University of Oxford | Aragao L.E.O.C.,University of Exeter | And 15 more authors.
Biological Reviews | Year: 2011

Developing high-quality scientific research will be most effective if research communities with diverse skills and interests are able to share information and knowledge, are aware of the major challenges across disciplines, and can exploit economies of scale to provide robust answers and better inform policy. We evaluate opportunities and challenges facing the development of a more interactive research environment by developing an interdisciplinary synthesis of research on a single geographic region. We focus on the Amazon as it is of enormous regional and global environmental importance and faces a highly uncertain future. To take stock of existing knowledge and provide a framework for analysis we present a set of mini-reviews from fourteen different areas of research, encompassing taxonomy, biodiversity, biogeography, vegetation dynamics, landscape ecology, earth-atmosphere interactions, ecosystem processes, fire, deforestation dynamics, hydrology, hunting, conservation planning, livelihoods, and payments for ecosystem services. Each review highlights the current state of knowledge and identifies research priorities, including major challenges and opportunities. We show that while substantial progress is being made across many areas of scientific research, our understanding of specific issues is often dependent on knowledge from other disciplines. Accelerating the acquisition of reliable and contextualized knowledge about the fate of complex pristine and modified ecosystems is partly dependent on our ability to exploit economies of scale in shared resources and technical expertise, recognise and make explicit interconnections and feedbacks among sub-disciplines, increase the temporal and spatial scale of existing studies, and improve the dissemination of scientific findings to policy makers and society at large. Enhancing interaction among research efforts is vital if we are to make the most of limited funds and overcome the challenges posed by addressing large-scale interdisciplinary questions. Bringing together a diverse scientific community with a single geographic focus can help increase awareness of research questions both within and among disciplines, and reveal the opportunities that may exist for advancing acquisition of reliable knowledge. This approach could be useful for a variety of globally important scientific questions. © 2010 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2010 Cambridge Philosophical Society. Source

Cardoso D.,Federal University of Bahia | Cardoso D.,State University of Feira de Santana | Sao-Mateus W.M.B.,State University of Feira de Santana | da Cruz D.T.,State University of Feira de Santana | And 9 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2015

Recent deep-level phylogenies of the basal papilionoid legumes (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae) have resolved many clades, yet left the phylogenetic placement of several genera unassessed. The phylogenetically enigmatic Amazonian monospecific genus Petaladenium had been believed to be close to the genera of the Genistoid Ormosieae clade. In this paper we provide the first DNA phylogenetic study of Petaladenium and show it is not part of the large Genistoid clade, but is a new branch of the Amburaneae clade, one of the first-diverging lineages of the Papilionoideae phylogeny. This result is supported by the chemical observation that the quinolizidine alkaloids, a chemical synapomorphy of the Genistoids, are absent in Petaladenium. Parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of nuclear ITS/5.8S and plastid matK and trnL intron agree with a new interpretation of morphology that Petaladenium is sister to Dussia, a genus comprising ~18 species of trees largely confined to rainforests in Central America and northern South America. Petaladenium, Dussia, and Myrospermum have papilionate flowers in a clade otherwise with radial floral symmetry, loss of petals or incompletely differentiated petals. Our phylogenetic analyses also revealed well-supported resolution within the three main lineages of the ADA clade (Angylocalyceae, Dipterygeae, and Amburaneae). We also discuss further molecular phylogenetic evidence for the undersampled Amazonian genera Aldina and Monopteryx, and the tropical African Amphimas, Cordyla, Leucomphalos, and Mildbraediodendron. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

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