The Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics (LEECG) is a molecular genetics facility capable of processing most sample types from DNA extraction to sequencing, microsatellite genotyping or real time PCR DNA quantification.
Our facilities include a laboratory dedicated to low quality DNA sample types including fecal, hair and aquatic environmental DNA samples. High quality DNA sample types, like blood and plant or animal tissue, are processed in another laboratory space that is separated from the low quality DNA lab. Our capillary electrophoresis facility can process PCR products for both fragment analysis and sequencing applications. Finally, we have a fully equipped computer lab for data analysis.
Low-Quantity DNA Extraction and PCR Set-Up
Contamination is a serious concern when working with low quantity DNA samples. LEECG maintains a laboratory dedicated to low quantity DNA samples that is spatially separated from our other DNA facilities. In this laboratory we use:
- UV light sterilization
- 10 percent bleach solution
- All bench top surfaces
- sample racks
- heat blocks
All DNA extractions and PCR reactions are monitored via inclusion of negative controls to test for contamination of reagents.
No forms of high quality DNA extracts or PCR products are allowed into this laboratory.
All of these measures help to minimize contamination of low quantity DNA samples.
Data collection in the LEECG includes analysis of high quantity DNA samples like blood and plant or animal tissue. DNA extractions are kept separate from PCR products. UV light and 10 percent bleach solution are used in this laboratory for sterilization. All equipment in this lab is dedicated to high quantity DNA sample extraction.
LEECG can handle a high level of PCR throughput with:
- 1 MJ Tetrad DNA Engine thermal cycler with 6 independently programmable blocks
- 3 single block thermal cyclers (2 MJ PTC-100 and 1 MJ PTC-200)
Real Time PCR
The 7500 Fast Real-time PCR Machine can be used for a variety of applications including:
- Environmental DNA detection
- Virus detection and quantification
LEECG maintains two 3130xl Genetic Analyzers from Life Technologies/Applied Biosystems. Two machines offer the flexibility to simultaneously have a 36cm array for short read sequencing and fragment analysis and an 80cm array for long read sequencing.
A range of fragment analysis and DNA sequencing data analyses can be performed in the computer lab. Processed data is used for:
- Species identification
- Identification of unique individuals
- Prey identification
- Predator detection by forensic analysis of saliva swabbed from bite wounds
- Invasive species detection via environmental DNA
- Phylogenetic analysis to determine the evolutionary history of a species
- Parentage analysis
- Gene flow between populations
- Hybridization identification