DNA samples

Unravelling family ties

Herbarium specimens can be used to take DNA samples. Our researchers use these samples for evolutionary and kinship research.

Although in theory it is perfectly possible to isolate DNA from herbarium material, in practice this regularly causes problems. In particular, the way in which the herbarium material was dried in the past is to blame. 

Since 2002, when collecting fresh material for the herbarium, our researchers take an extra sample and prepare it specifically for molecular research: the plant material is stored on silica gel granules. It is a very efficient method that is easy to apply.  This collection currently includes 11,500 samples. 

A cetrimonium bromide (CTAB) solution is used to preserve the DNA of mushrooms and lichens. The CTAB collection includes around 40,000 samples. In addition, there is a collection of about 25,000 DNA extracts that is kept frozen.