DNA from herbarium specimens.

K N and P J Harris ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk
Thu Jul 13 03:24:31 EST 1995

"Old DNA is of a wider interest than you might think. The soil 
microbiology world is awash with interest in extracting DNA from soil in 
the hopes of using it as a way of coping with the hitherto intractable 
problem of diversity in the soil population. Problem is that we know 
that some of the humus organic matter is hundreds, if not thousands of 
years old. Some of that old organic matter could be DNA, messed up and 
with all sorts of crud attached to it but still DNA. Now, the problem is 
that,if you extract and purify DNA, how on earth (no pun intended) do 
you know whether it is relevant to the current population or whether it 
is a good historical record of what was the population before Columbus 
sailed ?
Peter Harris, Environmental Microbiologist,
University of Reading, UK
AKA <P.J.Harris at reading.ac.uk>

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