Friday, July 12, 2013

Roosevelt Island Cockroaches Wanted For Rockefeller University National Cockroach DNA Barcoding Project - Our Roaches May Show Genetic Inbreeding

Cockroach Image From The Rockefeller University

Roosevelt Island resident Christoph von Bereen asks for our assistance in the Citizen Scientist National Cockroach Project.

From Mr. von Bereen:
I am a researcher at The Rockefeller University and currently we have a project about cockroaches in NY. We would love to have some specimens, dead, squeezed, doesn't matter, as we will analyze them genetically. Everybody is welcome to participate in this scientific project by handing over specimens.

The Roosevelt Island roach population would be interesting in particular, as they may, as an island population, show some kind of genetic inbreeding. People can also just ask their cleaning staff, they often know how to find the roaches. Contributors will also be announced on this webpage:

Just put the dead cockroaches in an normal envelope and send to the following address:
Mark Stoeckle
Program for the Human Environment
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY 10065
According to The Rockefeller University's The Incubator:
We mostly know cockroaches as pests. But the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, is one of the most successful species that have ever lived. Originating during the carboniferous period over 350 million years ago – even before the dinosaurs walked on earth – these bugs have continually adapted to a variety of environmental conditions. Very recently (relative to geologic time scales), the American cockroach has spread from it’s native continent of Africa, hitching a ride on ships traveling all over the world, and is now very commonly found in nearly all major cities.

Because of this expansive natural history and wide-ranging habitat, the American cockroach can be a wealth of information when it comes to genetic diversity. Through DNA Barcoding, which is a genetic technique used to identify a specific species, researchers at The Rockefeller University hope to answer questions about the American cockroach, and unlock secrets of natural selection and evolution. But your help is needed!

High school student researcher eagerly seeks cockroach specimens

In collaboration with the Kronauer Laboratory for Insect Social Evolution and the Program for the Human Environment, a high school student is eagerly seeking (dead) cockroach specimens from any location in or around NYC and from other US cities. We are particularly interested in the large “waterbug” officially known as American cockroach (Periplaneta americana). Specimens will be analyzed by DNA barcoding to look for genetic variation including possible cryptic species....
More information available from the National Cockroach Project.

Fortunately for me, I don't have much of a cockroach problem in my apartment but do get small ants at times. How about you?