JEMU contributes to SYNTHESYS+, a European project aiming at creating a European integrated infrastructure for natural history collections. In this project, JEMU is involved in the Work package 7, joint research activity 2: "Collections on Demand" with the objective of developping cost-effective protocols for DNA sequencing from preserved historical specimens in Natural History collections. 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 recovered 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.
In this project, JEMU works 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.
Major outputs related to this work package will be presented here in the future.
At RMCA, we are testing and optimizing wet-lab pipelines for DNA extraction in museum specimens.
At RBINS, we are exploring the influence of DNA quality metrics on sequencing success of reduced representaions of genomes in natural history collections and will formulate standard guidelines.