August 01, 2008

Gel of the Day: Sarcodon what?

You might recall that I've twice now collected what I suspect to be a rarely-collected fungus, Sarcodon underwoodii, in the past few weeks. The first collection was made inside Worcester city limits on July 11 and the second time from the Wachusett State Reservation on July 17. I should mention that on my last trip to Wachusett all of the prospective S. underwoodii was gone and the more common S. imbricatum has replaced it entirely. The latter fungus has quite different coloration, the background being a red-brown instead of S. underwoodii's buff.

I've been trying to get enough DNA out of my collections to sequence and so make a positive identification so that I can let the people who manage the land on which I've made these collections know that they have an unusual species present. I tried earlier this week and got nothing. The context of the fungus is loaded with pigments that interfere with DNA amplification. I took a second pass at the problem, though, and let my samples digest in proteinase K for more than two hours during extraction. That seems to have done the trick. I've got PCR product galore and expect to sequence the nuclear ribosomal large subunit and ITS early next week. Here's the gel:

Sarcodon sp. gel
Lanes 3, 5 and 6 are from the fruiting body collected on July 11 and 7 through 12 are from the Wachusett specimen.

By middle of next week, I should know whether both of these really are S. underwoodii and increase what's known about the ecology of the two areas from which I collected them just a tiny bit.

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