Guest blog by Kristen Choffe, DNA Lab Technician
From discovering new species to preserving endangered ones, the ROM’s LMS uses genetic sequencing to study specimens.
What is it?
The LMS, or Laboratory of Molecular Systematics, is a multi-user lab used mainly by the Department of Natural History. The LMS is used for DNA extractions, amplifications, sequencing, and other DNA-related research.
What does it do?
Technician Kristen Choffe manages the lab and supervises users from undergrads to PhD students. Each day at the lab is different, and there can be quite a few people on site, working on very different projects, at any time. One of Kristen’s major projects included working with the late Allan Baker on kiwi DNA. The kiwi population was dropping drastically, and they were trying to set up breeding programs to improve the chances of species survival. In order to do so, they had to analyze DNA to ensure that they could distinguish between closely related species.
What’s the lab working on currently?
At present, Kristen is working with curators Burton Lim and Sebastian Kvist to sequence the DNA of bats and leeches.
Originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of the ROM Magazine.