Here we blog about our research on working with DNA from museum samples done by different members of the group and all around collections.
Group of the Month: Diphyllobothrium
Known as broad or fish tapeworms, these spaghetti impersonators are some of the largest parasites that can infect humans. Transmitted to humans via undercooked or raw fish meat, Diphyllobothrium are found in fresh and marine waterways around the world. Characterized as flatworms, they are also considered pseudophyllidean cestodes, […]
Door 22: Tapping into Personal Genetics from Keepsakes – Breakthroughs and Concerns
Direct to consumer genetic testing of family heirlooms and keepsakes (e.g., used stamps, baby teeth) provide insight into genealogy and ancestry. Published earlier this month, one of the direct consequences of the sequencing revolution and increasing affordability of genetic testing has been direct to consumer (DTC) services and […]
Door 13: Expanding Sources of DNA in Museums
Diverse museum holdings offer unique and exciting potential sources of ancient DNA and other biomolecules (e.g., RNA and proteins). As technology and methods advance, the accessibility and potential for success of ancient DNA has also increased; alongside the attainment of ancient DNA and other biolmolecules from once condemned […]
Door 5: Immunity Genes Related to the Black Death
Published in October, startling results of natural selection in humans indicates certain immunity genes may have helped people survive the Black Death of the 1346-1350. Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, bubonic plague has swept across the globe (as pandemics) numerous times over the centuries, resulting in untold […]
Specimen fixation – how, and what for(malin)?
When an organism dies, it decomposes, whereby complex structures are broken down. Broadly following 5 to 6 stages, decomposition may be halted or accelerated at any point depending on conditions, such as temperature, water, and oxygen, resulting in different morphological and chemical changes to the organism. By chance, […]
Group of the month: Phylum Chordata, subphylum Tunicata (Previously Urochordata)
Written by Line Willersrud and Rita M. Austin The phylum Chordata contains the three subphylums, Tunicata, Cephalochordata and Vertebrata. Vertebrata, which includes humans and all other mammals, birds, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, are differentiated from other chordates by having an enclosed vertebral column, the backbone. But inclusion in […]
Insights into bear evolution from a Pleistocene polar bear genome
A 130,000 to 115,000 years old polar bear jawbone fossil from Svalbard. Photo: Karsten Sund, Natural History Museum Oslo.
Group of the month: Family Caprellidae
Spooky scary skeleton shrimp, send shivers down your spine, their appearance will shock your soul, but certainly don’t seal your doom tonight! Family Caprellidea, otherwise known as skeleton shrimp, are small marine arthropods that are found world-wide. Using their specialized ‘feet’, called pereopods, these slender, segmented invertebrates cling […]
Animal of the month: Cystophora cristata
By Pia Merete Eriksen and Rita M. Austin I think most of us conceptualize a seal as a comical or cute animal, darting through open waters – I don’t think many of us envisage blood-red balloons and bulging sacs, specialized for a ritual of dominance and mating. Enter, […]
Catching up! Door 22 – Progresses and challenges during 2021
Everyone has missed a day of ticking off advent as some point! Making today a two-for-one post day! Enjoy! By Alberto Valero-Gracia This year has been a bit peculiar for most of us. However, as with most of our colleagues at the NHM, the FEZ group has always […]