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Plant Methods. 2008 Aug 1;4:20. doi: 10.1186/1746-4811-4-20.

Protocol: A high-throughput DNA extraction system suitable for conifers.

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  • 1Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, 28 Dineen Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 6C2, Canada.



High throughput DNA isolation from plants is a major bottleneck for most studies requiring large sample sizes. A variety of protocols have been developed for DNA isolation from plants. However, many species, including conifers, have high contents of secondary metabolites that interfere with the extraction process or the subsequent analysis steps. Here, we describe a procedure for high-throughput DNA isolation from conifers.


We have developed a high-throughput DNA extraction protocol for conifers using an automated liquid handler and modifying the Qiagen MagAttract Plant Kit protocol. The modifications involve change to the buffer system and improving the protocol so that it almost doubles the number of samples processed per kit, which significantly reduces the overall costs. We describe two versions of the protocol: one for medium-throughput (MTP) and another for high-throughput (HTP) DNA isolation. The HTP version works from start to end in the industry-standard 96-well format, while the MTP version provides higher DNA yields per sample processed. We have successfully used the protocol for DNA extraction and genotyping of thousands of individuals of several spruce and a pine species.


A high-throughput system for DNA extraction from conifer needles and seeds has been developed and validated. The quality of the isolated DNA was comparable with that obtained from two commonly used methods: the silica-spin column and the classic CTAB protocol. Our protocol provides a fully automatable and cost effective solution for processing large numbers of conifer samples.

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