Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Methodology

Dichlorvos exposure impedes extraction and amplification of DNA from insects in museum collections

Marianne Espeland12*, Martin Irestedt3, Kjell Arne Johanson1, Monika Åkerlund4, Jan-Erik Bergh5 and Mari Källersjö36

Author Affiliations

1 Swedish Museum of Natural History, Entomology Department, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden

2 Stockholm University, Zoological Institute, SE-106 09 Stockholm, Sweden

3 Swedish Museum of Natural History, Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden

4 Swedish Museum of Natural History, Research Department, PRE-MAL, Box 50007, SE-104 05, Stockholm, Sweden

5 Dalarna University College, SE-791 88 Falun, Sweden

6 Current address: Göteborg Botanical Garden, Carl Skottsbergs Gata 22 A, SE-413 19 Gothenburg, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Frontiers in Zoology 2010, 7:2  doi:10.1186/1742-9994-7-2

Published: 18 January 2010



The insecticides dichlorvos, paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene have been commonly used to eradicate pest insects from natural history collections. However, it is not known how these chemicals affect the DNA of the specimens in the collections. We thus tested the effect of dichlorvos, paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene on DNA of insects (Musca domestica) by extracting and amplifying DNA from specimens exposed to insecticides in two different concentrations over increasing time intervals.


The results clearly show that dichlorvos impedes both extraction and amplification of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA after relatively short time, whereas paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene do not.


Collections treated with paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene, are better preserved concerning DNA, than those treated with dichlorvos. Non toxic pest control methods should, however, be preferred due to physical damage of specimens and putative health risks by chemicals.