|A tray of scarabaeid beetles from the Hope Entomological Collections at the OUMNH|
|The Oxford dodo display|
So, although genetics is only one area of research, and like any other needs to be applied and interpreted appropriately, this is an example where a modern technique and a traditional biological collection were both required for research purposes and combined to produce important results - the dodo is much more than a stuffed bird in a case, and genetics needs real-world applications beyond 'bar-coding' of species. It also highlights the point that when a specimen is collected, its use may be unknown as this specimens dates from long before the concept of the gene had been thought of. For an overview of some other applications of this technology, Nicholls (2005) covers some important points, and for much more detail about the 'Oxford dodo', have a look at this excellent OUMNH factsheet which I mercilessly plundered for background information.
Angst, D., Buffetaut, E. & Abourachid, A. (2011). The end of the fat dodo? A new mass estimate for Raphus cucullatus. Naturwissenschaften 98(3): 233-236.
Kitchener, A.C. (1993a). On the external appearance of the Dodo Raphus cucullatus (L.). Archives of Natural History 20(2): 279-301.
Kitchener, A.C. (1993b). Justice at last for the Dodo. New Scientist. (28.8.93)
Nicholls, H. (2005). Ancient DNA Comes of Age. Public Library of Science Biology 3(2): e56Shapiro, B., Sibthorpe, D., Rambaut,A., Austin, J., Wragg, G.M., Bininda-Emonds, O.R.P., Lee, P.L.M. & Cooper, A. (2002). Flight of the Dodo. Science 295: 1683.