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 Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>