Job offer:

A renewable one-year full time job is available at the RBINS: MSc research assistant (m/f/x) in biology (DNA analysis of wild bees). Deadline for applications: 15/07/2022


JEMU attended (online) to the International Conference on DNA bacoding and Biodiversity in Sofia, Bulgaria, 25-27 May 2022. A poster was presented on the DNA barcoding of isopods of the genus Metastenasellus in water wells in Benin and Cameroon: Sonet G., Lagnika M., Kayoc R. T., Flot J.-F., & Martin P., 2022, New insights in the groundwater species diversity of the isopod genus Metastenasellus in Benin and Cameroon, Book of abstracts of the International Conference on DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity, 25-27 May 2022, Sofia, Bulgaria, poster EP21: 231 - 232.

Here is the poster and a video of the poster presentation

New project:

Insect Service and Biodiversity in Agroecological Farming (ISeBAF) is a project coordinated by Massimiliano Virgilio (JEMU - RMCA) and funded by Belspo (BRAIN-BE 2.0 – Belgian Research Action Through Interdisciplinary Networks, 2018 - 2023). It aims at providing a reference test-case with a first quantitative description of relationships between agroecological farming, biodiversity of insect pollinators and pests, and cucurbit crop production in sub-Saharan Africa.

This project is articulated with other projects for a more global initiative: The quest for sustainable farming methods: agroecology in Tanzania (Feb. 2022).


The role of JEMU in the European project SYNTHESYS+, joint research activity 2 (of work package 7): "Towards cost-effective protocols for DNA sequencing from preserved museum specimens" (Dec. 2021).

New equipment:

Recently (2020-2021), the DNA labs of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and the Royal Museum for Central Africa purchased new equipment for real-time sequencing of short and ultra-long fragments of >4 millions of nucleotides (a MinIon and a Flongle). New equipment was also purchased for the more traditional sequencing of short fragments (Sanger's method) of 100-800 nucleotides (a SeqStudio) and for the evaluation and preparation of DNA extracts (a Pippin Pulse to separate big fragments, a Vacuüm concentrator to concentrate DNA solutions, a thermocycler and a new Geldoc system to visualise DNA fragments after electrophoresis (Jul. 2021).

JEMU call for collaborative research proposals - 2021:

JEMU provides technical and financial support to molecular genetic analysis of Natural History collections housed in the RBINS and RMCA. In this context, JEMU launches periodical calls for collaborative research projects with resident researchers from these two institutions. To submit an application (deadline on 30 April 2021), please follow the guidelines here (Mar. 2021).


Video of our colleagues of BopCo (the Barcoding Facility for Organisms and Tissues of Policy Concern) demonstrating the process of DNA-based species identification using the case of the bushmeat samples we identified for the journalists of Pano (vrtNWS) as a case story (Dec. 2020).

The Pano documentary, the bushmeat project of BopCo and the rest of the BopCo project are avalable here.

Running project:

Assessing genome-wide genetic variation in museum specimens of Tyto alba collected 10-50 years ago in Belgium (Jul. 2020).

Running project:

Exploring the diversity and phylogeny of Oriental praying mantises (Mantodea) based on recently collected material and preserved museum specimens (Apr. 2020).

Running project:

Evolutionary history of the cichlid assemblages of the Lake Victoria Region Superflock reconstructed using whole genome seqencing (Mar. 2020)

Running project:

Mitochondrial DNA analysis of ancient musk oxes from a possible relict population of Belgium (Feb. 2020)

Running project:

Testing less destructive sampling techniques for DNA identification of manufactured animal material from archaeological sites (Jan. 2020)


JEMU will contribute to SYNTHEYS+, the European infrastructure for natural history collections. Together with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Botanic Garden Meise, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, the Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin and the Natural History Museum London, its task is to develop the protocol infrastructure for DNA sequencing-on-demand (DNAoD). This work builds on a previous review of the current state of the field for sequencing preserved natural history collections undertaken during SYNTHESYS3. The outstanding research challenge is optimisation of protocols and workflows while also making them routine, cost-effective and scalable. Effective and efficient protocols will be developed to overcome the degradation and low concentrations of DNA in many museum specimens. New developments in sequencing platforms and technologies as well as recent progress in molecular biology protocols, will be tested and deployed to boost accessibility of the genetic and genomic data of preserved collections (Dec. 2019).

2018-2019 Highlights for the period 2018-2019
2016-2017 Highlights for the period 2016-2017
2014-2015 Highlights for the period 2014-2015
2011-2013 Highlights for the period 2011-2013

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith