Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cracking open ecological secrets of museum egg collections

13.01.2006


Swansea University ecologist Dr Patricia Lee has won a British Ecological Society (BES) grant to unlock the secrets of the millions of eggs held in museum collections worldwide.



The bird collection at London’s Natural History Museum alone includes more than a million skins and eggs, collected over the past 200 years and representing 95% of all known bird species. While the skins have proved a good source of DNA and have been widely used by scientists to study many aspects of bird biology, using the eggs for similar research has so far been problematic.

According to Lee: “Unlike bird skin specimens, eggs can be difficult to identify on appearance because many bird species produce essentially identical eggs, and until recently it was not known if DNA could be obtained from blown eggs. Other work involving the Natural History Museum’s collections has now demonstrated that enough DNA can sometimes be extracted from the residual dry membranes of duck eggs to identify the species of bird that the egg came from. This project will compare the quality and quantity of DNA that can be extracted from archive eggs with the DNA from skins. This will allow us to find out whether or not it is feasible to use DNA from archive eggs and find the most appropriate method of extracting the DNA.”


Lee’s research will focus on eggs from snipe (Gallinago spp), an array of closely similar species that lay frequently indistinguishable eggs. These look like quail eggs, with dark splotches on a lighter background; the eggs are larger than a quail’s although smaller than a chicken’s. Her results will help make sure that eggs in museum collections are correctly identified, which in turn will allow much more ecological research to be done using them.

“Establishing DNA extraction methods for archive eggs - as has already been done with skins - will be an invaluable advance for ecologists in opening up a new resource for research and will further enhance the scientific value of archive biological material,” Lee says.

Becky Allen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>