Campus News

Professor discusses methods of DNA extraction in microbiome research

Jason Wallace, associate professor in the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics department of crop and soil sciences, discussed his recent paper with EurekAlert! on extraction techniques.

There are currently multiple DNA extraction techniques and materials on the market for plant research, but it’s hard to know which one is the best or most effective for a particular research project.

“This research lets us know the best/most effective methods going forward. Our lab does a lot of plant microbiome work, so we want to make sure we’re using those resources well. I was actually surprised no one had done this before, so we hope other labs find it useful,” said Wallace.

Wallace and his team tested four common DNA extraction kits and four different amplification methods to target ribosomal DNA in plants to determine which kit and method did the best job of excluding host DNA while preserving the DNA they were after, microbial DNA.

“This study should help people make the best choices in terms of how to spend their time and money for microbiome research,” Wallace explained. “This isn’t a paradigm shift, but it’s one of the small, incremental changes that help us do research just a little bit better, and over time those add up to pretty large improvements.”