Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Marek K. Sliwinski


DNA testing has become a vital tool for studying microbes in their natural environments, but there is a lack of standardization in the protocols for extracting environmental DNA. Cave systems provide a special and unique area to research how life thrives in extreme environments. Many parts of caves receive no sunlight and very little nutrients yet harbor microbial communities. Previous work in our lab developed a DNA extraction protocol that works with a wide range of microbial species and with different soil types. I updated this protocol by adding a pre-lysis rinse step and tested whether it performed better with samples that I collected including soils and sediments. When using prairie soil and stream sediment samples, DNA yields increased with the addition of the pre-lysis rinse. Future studies can compare newer commercial kits that are optimized for biofilms, as these might be better able to extract DNA from microbes in extreme environments.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (25 pages)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License