Don’t sneeze! We are in the Ancient DNA lab!

If you visit JMM this week, you will be able to see three very meticulous scientists, covered in scrubs, gloves and lab coats (and colourful crocs), working in the Ancient DNA lab located in the basement. Working with ancient DNA requires a lot of care and precision. As this kind of DNA is very old, …

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DNA Degradation and Destructive Drilling

In our third week of research we headed to the paleontology collections room looking for the actual giant beaver specimens.  We found 12 specimens apart from the mounted individual on exhibit in the museum. The specimens consist of a variety bones including a skull, ulna, vertebra, and assorted teeth.  As we photographed the specimens we …

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A Power Outage Can’t Hold Us Back

It was a challenge to work during the power outage at JMM. But, we were determined to design our primers for the giant beaver ancient DNA. Heather, Rachel and I spent a day at Roscoe’s trying to get our primers right. And after a lot of switching between software and manipulation, we finally found a …

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One Tree to Rule Them All: Using DNA sequences to build a more complete Eagle phylogeny

Our second week of research has turned  out to be a little different than expected.  A campus wide power outage affected where and what we work on, but it hasn’t stopped our research. On Monday, we gathered with other displaced Earlham science researchers at Roscoe's Coffee Bar to work on finishing up designing primers for …

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Students Prepare for Extraction of Ancient DNA

There are several new research projects going on behind the scenes at the Joseph Moore museum.  Sonia Kabra and I, Rachel Wadleigh, are working with the museum director, Heather Lerner, and will be posting once a week about what we are working on.  We will be here for four weeks and we have a lot …

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The Giant Beaver is not actually a beaver?

I am fascinated by how DNA is present in every known organism, especially in archival specimens. Using specific regions in the genome to compare and establish phylogenetic relationships between the living and the dead shows us that this code of life can help us travel back in time. Wikipedia suggests that the extinct Giant beaver …

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