MINERAL PRESERVED eDNA
Extracting ancient environmental DNA (eDNA) from soil and lakebed sediments has provided a whole new insight into mega-faunal demography, plant, animal and microbial diversity.
The starting point of the eDNA research is the extraction of DNA from associated sediments. The extraction procedures are optimized as far as the current knowledge allows, but the extractions still introduce a bias in the extracted data, simply because some mineral-DNA bonds are stronger than others and respond differently to extraction solutions. The few approaches taken to study the strength and stability of the DNA-mineral bonds treat the adsorption of DNA to minerals at the bulk level and the information obtained is mostly qualitative and, therefore, hard to extrapolate to systems outside the range of the experimental system and conditions. Additionally, this lack of understanding prevent us from quantifying if the extracted DNA is of primary origin or if has been remobilized and also limit our focus to well preserved deposits and therefore limit the scope.
My group and I are using nanoscale techniques in combination with environmental samples to unravel the DNA-mineral affinities at different environmental settings.
Stay tuned for more detail and progress.
I am looking for students with knowledge of
geology, chemistry, bioinformatics or microbiology
to look into different aspects of how to optimize retrieval of DNA from sediments.
We will be using surface science and a range of spectroscopy and microscopic approaches. No knowledge of those is required beforehand.
Send an informal email for for more info: