Lab Manager: Dr. Tamar Feldstein

Academic Committee: Drs. Dorothee Huchon, Roi Dor, Roi Holzman

The SMNH molecular laboratory offers a molecular identification service for museum samples for which morphological identification is in question. The resulting molecular data expands the information available on unique samples and contributes to curation of the museum collections. In addition, we provide barcoding services on request, e.g. identification of invasive species for the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA). 

In 2014 we have been involved in the following projects:

  • Managing the tissue collection: about 1000 tissue samples from 370 mammals and 1700 tissue samples from 650 birds were added to the museum tissue collection.
  • Molecular identification of Egyptian jerboa. The study was summarized by Georgy Shenbrot from the Ben-GurionUniversity in a paper submitted to the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Sequences were submitted to the GenBank under accession numbers KM257925-9, KM244575-9.
  • Various barcoding services for the INPA including: barcoding of freshwater shrimps, invasive mussels and a trematod fish parasite.
  • Molecular identification of three ascidian species (sea squirts) from the Red Sea, one of which invaded the Mediterranean.
  • Identification of 38 airplane birdstrike samples belonging to 24 bird species and 1 bat. To complete the identification we sequenced the barcoding region of two museum samples from species that were not available on the GenBank. These sequences were submitted to the GenBank under accession numbers KM244573 and KM244574, respectively.

The laboratory is fully equipped with the necessary equipment to conduct DNA isolation and PCR amplifications. It has a PCR machine with a dual thermal cycler chassis, a bench top refrigerated centrifuge and a gel documentation system. To avoid contamination, a UV cabinet is dedicated to DNA extractions and PCR preparations.