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This next field season I will be collecting both blood and feather samples and I wondered how best to store the samples. The blood samples will be used for microsatellite and/or SNP analysis. The feather samples will be used for genetic sexing and/or microsatellite analysis.

Feathers: can these be stored in envelopes at "room" temperature? I've seen mixed answers in the literature. They are plucked feathers and so may have a bit of blood or tissue at the tip. If they are used for microsatellite analysis, I want to ensure this DNA is not degraded. I will be storing them frozen at my field site, but our partners at other sites may not have access to freezers.

Blood: we will be collecting blood into capillary tubes. I have a few Whatman FTA cards, but not enough. So I'm planning to freeze the blood in the capillary tubes. Are there better options than this? I'm planning to use non-heparinized tubes. Out of curiosity, has anyone used blood from FTA cards for microsatellite or SNP analysis? Can I expect sufficient DNA quantity and quality? Bird DNA is nucleated, so I should get more bang for my buck (volume-wise).

I appreciate your help!

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  • $\begingroup$ I've always used pure ethanol to store samples in the field before extraction. Is this possible with feathers? $\endgroup$
    – user438383
    Feb 10 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure, it seems possible and I can see if there is anything published. Unfortunately we are dealing with international shipping, so that may be difficult (that's a question for my advisor!). So far, for feathers it seems that people freeze them or store them dry. I have seen ethanol recommended for blood samples. $\endgroup$
    – Quinn
    Feb 12 at 12:30

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