Increasing the use and value of collections : finding DNA.
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Malone, Margaret E.
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The specimens maintained in natural history collections worldwide represent a resource that must be protected. However, as traditional collections age and historical research methods are replaced with new research applications, the future use of traditional collections has been challenged. While DNA studies have used traditional collections, successful retrieval is not always guaranteed. As a result, specimens may be damaged through sampling, while research resources are misdirected. Clearly, both collections and researchers would benefit if research results could be guaranteed. By comparing actual specimens with actual DNA results, studies were conducted to determine possible conditions leading to the successful or unsuccessful acquisition of DNA. Of particular interest were conditions surrounding DNA procedures, specimen parts sampled, age of specimens, systematics, and history of preservation treatments. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations for further study are presented for the benefit of specimen collections and the researchers that use them.