It belongs in a museum!

Over lunch during one of his visits to OIST, my former boss Sydney Brenner suggested that I try a ribo-tailing technique for attaching adaptors to short DNA molecules. The idea is that the action of terminal transferase on riboguanidines creates a 3′ tail of controlled length, which can be used for attaching adaptors and synthesizing a second strand (Komura and Riggs, 1998Lee and Weeks, 2006).We tried it, and it was amazing. This approach eventually produced a method that we use for working with degraded DNA, just published in PLoS ONE (and available in detail here). The PLoS ONE paper outlines this approach, at least an earlier version, and presents a fairly non-destructive way of extracting DNA form museum insects. Using this approach we could sequence RAD-tags from tiny 100 year old ants, and create a Hawaiian fruit fly phylogeny.