Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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 General Botany Questions

What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
May 22, 2013 - What are the native plants in Kerrville, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Mycotrophic plants that develop underground for years in Alabama
January 10, 2006 - I recently heard someone say that there was a plant that took seven years to grow. They stated that the seed is in the ground but it begins the growth under ground but does not come to the surface for...
view the full question and answer

Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
November 11, 2015 - Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Cryptomeria japonica for homeowners association
May 09, 2007 - Good morning. We are wondering if Cryptomeria japonica trees can fit under the term "pine like". We used the term pine like when asking for our home owners associations approval and we put in a Cr...
view the full question and answer

Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
December 27, 2008 - Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
view the full question and answer

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