Tohoku University: A New Database Visualizing Fish Biodiversity Opens to the Public

Tohoku University: A New Database Visualizing Fish Biodiversity Opens to the Public. “Tohoku University professor Michio Kondoh has spearheaded the launch of ANEMONE DB – a new public database of fish biodiversity based on environmental DNA (eDNA)…. Unlike traditional biological surveys, where fish must be collected to be observed, eDNA surveys are straightforward, inexpensive and can detect rare or nearly extinct species. A simple sample of water taken from rivers, seas or oceans picks up DNA left behind by organisms and reveals crucial information, like population sizes and distribution.”

NewsWise: The Art of Getting DNA Out of Decades-Old Pickled Snakes

NewsWise: The Art of Getting DNA Out of Decades-Old Pickled Snakes. “Many of these specimens are decades or even centuries old, near-perfectly preserved by a combination of formalin and alcohol. But the process that preserves tissues often destroys or at least makes acquiring DNA for modern studies very difficult, which is bad news for scientists who study genetic relationships between organisms. A new study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, however, reveals new approaches for getting and maximizing usable DNA from decades-old pickled specimens, and uses these techniques to solve a long-standing mystery about a small snake from the island of Borneo.”

EurekAlert: Researchers reconstruct the genome of centuries-old E. coli using fragments extracted from an Italian mummy

EurekAlert: Researchers reconstruct the genome of centuries-old E. coli using fragments extracted from an Italian mummy. “An international team led by researchers at McMaster University, working in collaboration with the University of Paris Cité, has identified and reconstructed the first ancient genome of E. coli, using fragments extracted from the gallstone of a 16th century mummy.”

WWF: WWF kickstarts ShellBank – a global genetic database to trace and protect sea turtles from poaching and the illegal trade

WWF: WWF kickstarts ShellBank – a global genetic database to trace and protect sea turtles from poaching and the illegal trade. “Building off the success of a ground-breaking pilot in Australia called ‘Surrender Your Shell’, where over 300 tortoiseshell products were donated to help trace the illegal trade, WWF’s ShellBank is gearing up for uptake across Asia Pacific and globally.”

MIT News: New CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function

MIT News: New CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function. “The Human Genome Project was an ambitious initiative to sequence every piece of human DNA. The project drew together collaborators from research institutions around the world, including MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and was finally completed in 2003. Now, over two decades later, MIT Professor Jonathan Weissman and colleagues have gone beyond the sequence to present the first comprehensive functional map of genes that are expressed in human cells.”

NY Appellate Court: Law enforcement agencies can’t use DNA database for familial searches (Gothamist)

Gothamist: NY Appellate Court: Law enforcement agencies can’t use DNA database for familial searches. “Law enforcement agencies can’t use a state DNA database to investigate the possible relatives of people whose genetic material matches those on file, a panel of state appellate judges ruled Thursday. The court found the use of the database can disproportionately target people of color.”

KIRO: Genealogy resolves Canada’s ‘Babes in the Wood’ case 70 years after boys’ hatchet murders

KIRO: Genealogy resolves Canada’s ‘Babes in the Wood’ case 70 years after boys’ hatchet murders. “A groundskeeper clearing brush from a Canadian park in 1953 made a horrific discovery: the skeletal remains of two young boys who had been bludgeoned to death with a hatchet. For nearly 70 years, the boys, whose murders became known as the ‘Babes in the Wood’ case, remained unidentified as their brutal deaths slowly became Vancouver’s oldest unsolved homicides. The advent of genetic genealogy has changed that.” I don’t generally index forensic genealogy articles because they’re usually brief and basic. This one is really extensive and has tons of external links.

Rape survivors, child victims, consensual sex partners: San Francisco police have used DNA from all of them for 7 years (USA Today)

USA Today: Rape survivors, child victims, consensual sex partners: San Francisco police have used DNA from all of them for 7 years. “It’s not only sexual assault survivors whose DNA has been stored by the San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab – and routinely searched for matches to suspects in criminal cases. For the last seven years, the department’s crime lab has also been keeping all processed DNA – including, for example, from victims of violent crimes, child victims, or individuals entirely uninvolved in the crime like roommates and consensual partners – according to the police chief and a copy of the lab’s standard operating procedures obtained by USA TODAY.”

De-extinction puzzle: how decoding numbat DNA could help resurrect the Tasmanian tiger (The Guardian)

The Guardian: De-extinction puzzle: how decoding numbat DNA could help resurrect the Tasmanian tiger. “Researchers at DNA Zoo Australia have mapped the genome of the numbat for the first time. The milestone is notable in its own right, motivated by a desire to improve conservation efforts for the endangered termite-eating marsupial, which is now found only in small pockets of Western Australia. But in announcing the development last week, scientists also had a more extraordinary suggestion: that the numbat’s DNA could be used as a blueprint to bring its extinct cousin, the thylacine, back from the dead.”

SciTechDaily: Ancient Ostrich Eggshell Beads Reveal 50,000-Year-Old Social Network Across Africa

SciTechDaily: Ancient Ostrich Eggshell Beads Reveal 50,000-Year-Old Social Network Across Africa. “Humans are social creatures, but little is known about when, how, and why different populations connected in the past. Answering these questions is crucial for interpreting the biological and cultural diversity that we see in human populations today. DNA is a powerful tool for studying genetic interactions between populations, but it can’t address any cultural exchanges within these ancient meetings. Now, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History have turned to an unexpected source of information—ostrich eggshell beads—to shed light on ancient social networks.”