Detection and Identification of Psilocybe cubensis DNA Using a Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction High Resolution Melt Assay*,†

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Psilocybe cubensis, or “magic mushroom,” is the most common species of fungus with psychedelic characteristics. Two primer sets were designed to target Psilocybe DNA using web-based software and NBCI gene sequences. DNA was extracted from eighteen samples, including twelve mushroom species, using the Qiagen DNeasy® Plant Mini Kit. The DNA was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the primers and a master mix containing either a SYBR® Green I, Radiant™ Green, or LCGreen Plus® intercalating dye; amplicon size was determined using agarose gel electrophoresis. The PCR assays were tested for amplifiability, specificity, reproducibility, robustness, sensitivity, and multiplexing with primers that target marijuana. The observed high resolution melt (HRM) temperatures for primer sets 1 and 7 were 78.85 ± 0.31°C and 73.22 ± 0.61°C, respectively, using SYBR® Green I dye and 81.67 ± 0.06°C and 76.04 ± 0.11°C, respectively, using Radiant™ Green dye.

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