Blogs & Videos: DNA

Mammoths vs. Mastodons: Can we 'de-extinct' them both?

There's been a lot of talk and research interest around the possibility of resurrecting certain groups of organisms (or, at least their genomes) from extinction, with Woolly Mammoths being prime candidates for such an endeavor. But what about a closely related group, like the Mastodons? What's the criteria for possible 'de-extinction'? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

A tiny primate, the Goodman's mouse lemur, held in a person's hand.

Ridiculously cute mouse lemurs hold key to Madagascar’s past

Today, Madagascar is home to a mosaic of different habitats—a lush rainforest in the east and a dry deciduous forest in the west, separated by largely open highlands. But the island off the southeast coast of Africa hasn’t always been like that—a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announces that these two ecologically different portions of the island were once linked by a patchwork of forested areas. And to figure it out, the scientists analyzed the DNA of some of the cutest animals on earth—mouse lemurs.

Field Museum Intern Hannah Ranft takes a stab at revising New Zealand lichens

Macrolichens in the family Lobariaceae are among the most conspicuous and charismatic lichens on the planet, due to their often large, colorful thalli and their ecological importance and potential uses. Many species have cyanobacterial photobionts and are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, hence acting as biological fertilizers. Lobariaceae are also good indicators of environmental health and the conservation status of forest ecosystems. Species such as Lobaria pulmonaria have been used in homoeopathic medicine.

Naked mole-rats: Not a mole, not a rat, and not an African mole-rat

You may remember him from the Saturday morning cartoon, Kim Possible – Rufus, the naked mole-rat, tenacious pet of Kim’s best friend Ron. With very little hair, some whiskers, wrinkly-pink skin and large teeth, Rufus stole the hearts of all who watched him save the day. In many episodes, Rufus is the hero, and like Kim and Ron, scientists agree that naked mole-rats are pretty cool.

The Future of DNA Investigations at The Field Museum

  The glass windows that enclose The Field Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory on the second floor of the Museum give visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of the scientists, students, and interns that work there.  Now, visitors can also get a glimpse of the future – a new DNA sequencer has arrived, and its users are busy enjoying its capabilities!

2014 REU Intern Ian Medeiros

ATM meets MET – Assembling a Taxonomic Monograph using Modern Electronic Tools

IAN MEDEIROS Sophomore Human Ecology (Botany focus) at The College of the Atlantic REU Mentors: Dr. Robert Lücking (Adjunct Curator and Collections Manager, Botany, S&E) and Dr. Thorsten Lumbsch (Curator and Associate Director of the Integrative Research Center, S&E) Symposium Presentation Title: Resolving the Phylogeny of the Wirthiotremateae (Graphidaceae) with Morphological and Molecular data

2014 REU Intern Luis Allende

What’s in a name? That’s what we call a species – addressing species delimitation in lichenized fungi

LUIS ALLENDE Sophomore Ecology major at Northeastern Illinois University REU Mentor: Dr. Thorsten Lumbsch (Curator and Associate Director of the Integrative Research Center, S&E) Symposium Presentation Title: What's in a name? That's what we call a species - addressing species delimitation in script lichens