About the Evolutionary Biology Unit

The Evolutionary Biology Unit was established in 1988 as a centre to apply techniques such as molecular analysis and scanning electron microscopy within different sections of the museum.

The unit is now equipped to perform a wide variety of investigations, with major equipment including an automated DNA sequencer and two scanning electron microscopes. The principal current operational areas of the unit are molecular biology, allozyme electrophoresis, scanning electron microscopy and photomicrography.

Almost all of the Unit's projects are undertaken in collaboration with researchers from other sections of the Museum or from other institutions, both Australian and international, with a wide variety of projects currently in progress.

The Unit's main current research collaborations include:

identification of populations within species that have high conservation or economic value
identification of new species
investigation of the evolutionary relationships of animals
study of residues on stone tools
elemental composition analyses of minerals
The Unit is also responsible for frozen and ethanol-stored tissue collections. These represent a major scientific resource for the investigation of biodiversity. Specimens from the collections may be made available for scientific research under licence.

The Unit is grateful to the following agencies and individuals for funding its work: New South Wales State Government, Australian Research Council, Australia-New Zealand Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation, Bushell Foundation, Mr Telford Conlon, Fisheries Industry Research and Development Council, National Parks and Wildlife Endangered Species Program.

The Museum particularly wishes to acknowledge the vital support given by Mr Kenneth Myer and his wife Yasuko during the early years of the Unit's operation and to record its appreciation of the generous bequest Mr Myer left the Unit following his tragic death with Yasuko in an aviation accident in 1993. The molecular laboratory is named "The Ken and Yasuko Myer Molecular Evolutionary Biology Laboratory" in their honour.


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