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Anais da Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil

Print version ISSN 0301-8059On-line version ISSN 1981-5328


CARVALHO, Alfredo O. R.  and  VIEIRA, Luiz G. E.. Comparison of preservation methods of Atta spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for RAPD analysis. An. Soc. Entomol. Bras. [online]. 2000, vol.29, n.3, pp.489-496. ISSN 0301-8059.

High quality DNA for molecular studies can be easily extracted from fresh specimens. However, live samples are difficult to keep for long periods thus making their preservation a serious problem, specially when they are collected and transported from remote locations. In order to establish an efficient method to preserve Atta spp. (leaf-cutting ants) for RAPD analysis, six different storage methods were examined: 1) -70°C; 2) 95% ethanol at -20°C; 3) 95% ethanol at 4°C; 4) 95% ethanol at room temperature; 5) silica gel at room temperature; and 6) buffer (0.25 M EDTA, 2.5% SDS, 0.5 M Tris-HCl, pH 9.2) at room temperature. DNA was extracted (Cheung et al., 1993 - modified) and examined after 90, 210 and 360 days of storage. Freshly killed specimens were used as control. DNA yield was measured with a minifluorometer. DNA quality was determined by scanning photographs with a densitometer and the integral of the scan was calculated for DNA of size > 9.4 kb. Data were analyzed using a completely randomized split-plot design with four replicates. All methods were efficient to preserve Atta spp. DNA up to 210 days. At 360 days, DNA was degraded only in 95% ethanol at room temperature, which resulted in RAPD profiles with missing bands. Although preservation at low temperatures is recommended for long periods, methods using silica gel and buffer can be considered satisfactory alternatives when refrigeration and transportation are limiting factors.

Keywords : Insecta; leaf-cutting ants; DNA extraction; storage conditions.

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