What does the Molecular Identities Lab do?

Our genetic based research projects are as rich and diverse as there are species to study but generally fall into the research areas described below. An important component of all our projects is mentoring and training students and/ visiting researchers in a wide variety of molecular techniques.

Species Identification and Molecular Systematics

We employ DNA sequence data to identify new species and examine evolutionary relationships among species in a range of animals including:

  • Rainbow Skinks
  • Leaf-tailed and Ring-tailed Geckos
  • Sea spiders (Pycnogonids)
  • Parasites of aquatic animals
  • Marine sponges
  • Decapod crustaceans (e.g. crabs)
  • Scorpion Fish
  • Sea anemones

Detection and diagnosis of parasitic diseases

We use DNA-based diagnostic tests to screen marine aquaculture species for the presence of parasitic infections.

  • Marteliosis (QX disease) of Sydney rock oysters
  • Myxozoan parasites of commercially important fish species

Population Genetics

Variation in DNA sequences and other molecular markers such as microsatellite loci can be used to define population boundaries and estimate dispersal (gene flow) of individuals among populations at different geographic scales. This is particularly important for threatened and endangered species.

  • Artesian spring snails in arid central Australia
  • Native mammals in South-east Queensland

DNA Sexing

For species that have sex chromosomes and genetic sex determination mechanisms, we can use DNA tests to determine the sex of individuals from a range of different tissue sources:

  • Australian Brush-turkeys

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.