DNA Extraction from odd sources...

M.D. O'Leary Mark.OLeary at newcastle.ac.uk
Mon Mar 2 10:57:41 EST 1992

Peter Hurd wrote:                                                            
>rbereson at lamar.ColoState.EDU (Rachel Bereson) writes:
>>>     I'm not 100% certain, but I though that feathers were made of proteins
>>>(specifically keratin - like hair).  In which case, there is no DNA in feathers.
>>>Please let me know if I'm way off here.
>>>                                              -Bri at n
>>I believe you are off here.  Feather pulp contains dermal material and
>>therefore does have DNA.  When a feather forms it is supplied with nutrients
>There is a guy (whose name I could get you if they ever fix the e-mail
>here) in Ottawa doing species identification of birds from feather
>particles.  The work is funded by our Defense Department, so you can 
>guess how (but the why is a stumper, eh?) the feathers get turned into
>such small pieces.  I don't know if he's using DNA or protein, I could
>look into this a bit for you.  Post any reply here, cuz like I say, I'm
>deaf and blind to e-mail.
>Pete Hurd: Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Dept. Biol. Sci.
>Simon Fraser University, Burnaby B.C. V5A 1S6 Canada; hurd at fraser.sfu.ca
>--- Do not post to me directly, you net types, some hackers have knocked
>out the e-mail here at SFU, I can't read what I get sent to me & I can't mail.

Firstly, many thanks to those who have replied so far...

We actually now have a reference to a paper in AUK on DNA extraction "from
a single feather" (alas, our library doesnt stock AUK so the search goes on).

Any further info on the "guy in Ottawa" (8>) would be much appreciated, if
he is in fact extracting DNA.

On a wider note- what other odd DNA sources have been used out there?
I guess subfossil bones, stuff from pyramids etc... Anything wierder?

Just a thought.

Mark (on behalf of JM), Newcastle Univ "See Newcastle and die."

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