Empirical evaluation of preservation methods for faecal DNA

M. A.J. Frantzen, J. B. Silk, J. W.H. Ferguson, R. K. Wayne, M. H. Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


We evaluate the relative effectiveness of four methods for preserving faecal samples for DNA analysis. PCR assays of fresh faecal samples collected from free-ranging baboons showed that amplification success was dependent on preservation method, PCR-product size, and whether nuclear or mitochondrial DNA was assayed. Storage in a DMSO/EDTA/Tris/salt solution (DETs) was most effective for preserving nuclear DNA, but storage in 70% ethanol, freezing at -20 °C and drying performed approximately equally well for mitochondrial DNA and short (< 200 bp) nuclear DNA fragments. Because faecal DNA is diluted and degraded, repeated extractions from faeces may be necessary and short nuclear markers should be employed for genotyping. A review of molecular scatology studies further suggests that three to six faeces per individual should be collected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1423-1428
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular ecology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Cytochrome c oxidase II
  • DNA preservation
  • Molecular scatology
  • Noninvasive sampling
  • Papio cynocephalus ursinus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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