Posts tagged with DNA

What’s it like to be a MSc student in systematic botany? Just ask Jessie…

  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck. Photo © Jessie Prebble.
  • The beautiful coastal plant Wahlenbergia congesta subps. haastii growing on sand dunes on the South Island’s west coast, by the mouth of Ship Ck.
  • Wahlenbergia ceracea growing in an alpine bog on the slopes of Mt Kosciuszko, New South Wales, Australia.
  • This is the common South Island alpine plant Wahlenbergia albomarginata subsp. albomarginata, which grows profusely on the slopes of Mt Robert, Nelson Lakes area, New Zealand.

My name is Jessie Prebble and I am the current (2009) recipient of the Te Papa MSc Scholarship in Molecular Systematics. I’m studying at Victoria University, looking at the evolution of the plant genus Wahlenbergia in New Zealand and Australia. I’m using various molecular techniques to try to determine how reliable the current taxonomy of… Read more »

DNA-fingerprinting fierce lancewood

  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • The four principal genetic groups detected by microsatellite DNA-fingerprinting in fierce lancewood are indicated by different colours. The small grey circles are populations that we haven’t sampled, but which are represented by specimens in the herbarium collections of Te Papa, Auckland Museum, and Landcare Research.
  • At each different kind of microsatellite, each individual has two copies, one inherited from its mother and the other from its father. The two copies in an individual can be the same or different lengths. This is a figure of one particular kind of microsatellite for two individuals. In the upper individual, the two copies are of different lengths: length 129, which is quite uncommon, and length 135 which is common and widespread. In the lower individual, the two copies are both of length 135, which is why there is only one large peak.

Aside from ferns, my main research interest is the group of trees known as Pseudopanax, for which I collaborate with Lara Shepherd from the Allan Wilson Centre. Blog posts on ferns Blog posts on Pseudopanax Pseudopanax includes the lancewoods and five-fingers. Several of the species are popular in cultivation, including fierce lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox). This… Read more »

More rare maidenhair spleenwort.

  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.
  • asplenium_trichomanes_habitat1
  • DNA sequence data. The highlighted position is one of several DNA sites found by Lara that differ between the tetraploid (upper two samples) and octoploid (lower two samples) maidenhair spleenworts.
  • These rocks are host to several plants of tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort.]

The rare, tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort  (Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens) has only recently been rediscovered in New Zealand.  Several people have contacted me with possible additional sightings. As described by the Scoop website, Jack Ritchie had a maidenhair spleenwort self-sow on a rock used to construct a water feature in his nursery, Tree Guys, in Otane…. Read more »

We have DNA

  • Pseudopanax macintyrei.
  • Pseudopanax macintyrei.
  • Adult tree of fierce lancewood, Pseudopanax ferox.
  • DNA of Pseudopanax on agarose gel after electrophoresis

The first step after collecting samples for genetic analyses is to extract the DNA. Lara and I do this for lancewood and five-finger plants (Pseudopanax) by: freezing a small piece of leaf tissue in liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C !) and grinding it as finely as possible. adding a detergent to release the DNA from… Read more »

Lancewood hunting

  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile2
  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile1
  • pseudopanax_ferox_juvenile_leaf1
  • tepapa4wd2

Field-work is one of the best aspects of working as a Natural Environment curator at Te Papa. I get to spend about three weeks a year in the field collecting plant specimens. I’ve recently returned from ten days field-work in the South Island, collecting samples for our research on lancewood (horoeka, Pseudopanax crassifolius) and fierce… Read more »