Phylogenetic relationships and molecular taxonomy within the Tardigrada have been given a lot of attention in recent years. Here I present the first comparison of different protocols for DNA preparation by investigating six commercial available DNA extraction kits and the CTAB method. Successful extraction of DNA from tardigrades depends strongly on the life-stage (embryo, adult), and on the condition of the specimens, respectively on the preservation (anhydrobiotic, ethanol). Although the extraction kits showed differences in the amount of extracted DNA, in all cases fresh tissue of live animals or embryos resulted in the best quality and quantity of DNA. A lesser amount of DNA was extractable from anhydrobiotic animals and embryos and the results of specimens fixed in ethanol were unsatisfactory. All used commercially available DNA extraction kits and PCR cocktails have been focused on vertebrate tissues, blood, cultured cells, bacteria and yeast. However, I used successfully the kits according to the manufacturer’s instruction without changes in the protocols for DNA extraction of tardigrades. Commercial kits provide a simple and convenient way to isolate pure genomic DNA of high-quality from tardigrades. Furthermore I tested eight different Taq polymerase enzymes for PCR amplification of mitochondrial genes of tardigrades. Each of the enzymes resulted in a PCR product, and even if the amount of the PCR products was quite different, it was possible to use it successful for direct sequencing. Summarizing, the successful PCR of the target DNA depends on the purity and quality of the DNA template and for this the species preservation is more critical than the extraction method or the PCR cocktail which can be optimized.
DNA isolation, cox1, molecular methods, Tardigrada, PCR