Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 04, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Source for DNA sequencing of Opuntia species
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am trying to do a Opuntia speciation study, and rather just identifying the species by morphological comparison, I would also like to go a little deeper by comparing the DNA sequences in a few of them. I can isolate the DNA, but I don't have the ability or equipment to sequence it. On another note I don't have that much money. Is there a cheap (or relatively affordable) lab I can send it to in order to sequence it? thanks, -Matthew

ANSWER:

Sorry, but we don't have any expertise in the area of DNA sequencing so we don't know any sources.   Since you live in Austin you might contact someone at the University of Texas School of Biological Sciences.  The bio of Dr. Bob Jansen, Chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology reads:

"My primary research interests involve the determination of phylogenetic relationships among plants and genome evolution."

You also might look through recent issues of the Journal of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America (formerly Cactus and Succulent Society Journal) to find someone who is doing similar research on Opuntia or other cacti.   This journal is available at the University of Texas Life Science Library.  You could also contact the Cactus and Succulent Society of America directly.  Other possibilities are the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society, Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Problems on Prickly Pear Cactus in Illinois
November 19, 2014 - I have a fungus on my prickly pear cactus that is not a bug. I tested it and my fingers didn't turn red when I squeezed them. So how do I get rid of this as it is spreading to my other cacti?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
January 05, 2012 - I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
view the full question and answer

Transporting a plant on airplane from New York City
April 21, 2012 - Can I transport via airplane a jade plant from New York City to Colorado in my suitcase?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Agave havardiana in Stella NC
July 10, 2009 - We have a havard century plant in a large pot outside that has a couple of "baby" plants starting to emerge on the outer perimeter of the plant. Can we sucessfully transplant these babies elsewhere ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.