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.

Door 21 – Persistent considerations for molecular analyses of museum specimens

Many factors come into play when making decisions about using museum specimens, especially for molecular applications. As a museum scientist that utilizes molecular methodologies, I am constantly conducting experiments in my mind to try to run through how each step and/or technique will (or won’t) get me to […]

Door 13: Christmas Excitement at the Museum

“On the thirteenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me”…an unbridled curiosity of organismal diversity and their relationships, historical contexts, and the natural world that has directly informed my career. Me too! While my fascination of the natural world isn’t directly related to the holidays, I […]

Door 5: Modern DNA Sequencing Meets Oslo Natural History Museum Wet Collections: Testing the Impact of Age and Formalin

Pia Merete Eriksen, Rita M. Austin In June 2021, I, Pia M Eriksen, conducted a research project under the guidance of Rita M Austin to sequence herptile type specimen DNA using in-house sequencing techniques, supported by Oslo Natural History Museum and UiO: Life Sciences. Now, 5 months later, […]

Biodiversity research in the Genomics era

Sequencing technology has changed in research in biology tremendously and probably much more than any other technology before. The development from radioactivity-based to nowadays single-molecule real-time sequencing of tens of thousands of base pairs in a single go in the last three decades is on par with the […]

Old Specimens, New Scientist: A Student’s Account of Sequencing Historic Herptile Type Specimens

The Covid-19 shutdown and restrictions halted any opportunities to learn about and contribute to on-going research at the University of Oslo (UiO). Because I’m (Pia M. Eriksen; Figure 1) considering a master’s degree in biological sciences, I have been planning and looking for ways to engage in biological […]

An initial foray into scientific research: Meet the new undergraduate research student at FEZ

Joining the FEZ group as part of the University of Oslo’s (UiO) Summer Research Program, Pia M. Eriksen is a Bachelor of Biosciences student taking part in an on-going museomics (museum collection genetic studies) project. Working alongside project leader, Rita M. Austin, Pia will contribute to the exploration […]

New Paper Exploring the Surprising Evolutionary History of Our Oral Bacteria*

Living in and on our bodies are trillions of microbial cells belonging to thousands of bacterial species – our microbiome. These microbes play key roles in human health, but little is known about their evolution. Here we investigated the evolutionary history of the hominid oral microbiome by analyzing […]

Sampling Modern Marine Invertebrates for Museum Research – A New Experience

While museum collections contain historic materials that provide insight into various evolutionary and social aspects of the past, museums are dynamic, not only for the types of collections they contain, but also for their diverse research foci. For the Natural History Museum of Oslo and the Frontiers in […]

Type Specimen Genetics?

Until relatively recently, museum collections have been amassed and utilized to investigate the morphological variation seen within and across species to understand evolutionary change. With the advent of next generation sequencing (NGS) and improved molecular methodologies, natural history collections have become ideal sources of curated (documented) materials to […]