Ryan St. Laurent, a doctoral student in the Kawahara Lab at the Florida Museum of Natural History, studies an obscure, strange family of moths known as Mimallonidae, or sack-bearer moths. As caterpillars, these insects make little houses out of poop, silk and plant material to protect themselves from danger. St. Laurent published a study showing that certain molecular techniques can allow researchers to extract as much DNA from dried museum sack-bearer moth specimens as from ethanol-preserved, recently collected material. Showing the success of this technique opens the door to countless studies based on DNA from dried specimens.
Provided by Florida Museum of Natural History