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Molecular Systematics at SBMNH

Through a generous donation in the name of George Ostertag, the Museum has established a laboratory for molecular systematics research. This lab allows researchers to utilize the genetic information in DNA to help answer evolutionary questions, and represents an important step forward in the technical capacity of the Museum's research programs. Researchers are now able to study the Museum's vast collections from an entirely new perspective.

The lab features a selection of equipment to permit DNA/RNA isolation and purification, gel electrophoresis, and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) amplification of a variety of target genes. The resulting data is a valuable complement to more traditional approaches to taxonomic and evolutionary problems. Some investigations that have been conducted in the lab include:

  • Phylogenetic origin of myrmecophily in histerid beetles
  • Landscape phylogeography of California beetles
  • Demographics of Native Americans of southern California
  • Population genetics of cetaceans of the Santa Barbara Channel
  • Evolutionary relationships of bivalves

In addition to use for in-house research, arrangements may be made for visiting students and researchers to use the lab for components of their research that utilize our collections. Please contact Invertebrate Zoology Department Head Dr. Daniel L. Geiger for additional information:

(805) 682-4711 x152

Histerid 185


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