Biosystematics, informatics and genomics of the big 4 insect groups: training tomorrow's researchers and entrepreneurs

Development of next-generation sequencing techniques for museum specimens

Objectives: The project aims to develop laboratory protocols for extraction of large amounts of genomic data from museum specimens. Similar protocols are in use by researchers working on ancient DNA from fossils up to 30,000 years old. It is expected that museum specimens will be easier to work with as they are at most 200 years old and many are less than 100 years old. Approximately 50 target genes will be mined from annotated genomes of the big four insect orders, with an initial focus on Lepidoptera. Once the protocols have been shown to work reliably, certain taxa will be targeted for which type specimens are easily available and for which nondestructive DNA extraction is allowed.

Expected Results:  The biggest contribution to science of this project would be an easy way to generate a lot of genomic data for museum specimens. Potential application of the protocols are endless, including targeting specific genes in pest species that have evolved resistance to pesticides.

Researching student: Elsa Call

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