As part of the capacity-building activities for the RSI team, Elida Emperatriz Gamero García, a molecular laboratory technician in Caracas at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), visited the Smithsonian (Washington-DC, USA) from October to December, 2017. During her stay, Emperatriz helped develop genomic tools to analyze family relationships, inbreeding, geographic origins, and possible hybrid ancestry in the Red Siskin. She worked with other RSI team members Brian Coyle, Kate Rodriguez-Clark, and Jesus Maldonado, as well as other Smithsonian scientists including Dietrich Gotzek, to receive specialized training which she will be able to apply to other similar Venezuelan species. Emperatriz was hosted by the Laboratory of Analytical Biology (LAB) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH); where she isolated genomic DNA from samples and then prepared and enriched genomic libraries. She received additional training in the theory and practice of genomic library preparation at the University of Georgia in the laboratory of Travis Glenn, a former graduate student of another RSI team member, Mike Braun. Thank you Travis!
We are very pleased with the excellent work and with the support of the entire RSI team and collaborators at the Smithsonian, particularly Erica Royer, Warren Lynch, and Paul Marinari at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, who provided important samples from the Red Siskin research colony for development of these genomic tools. Emperatriz’ visit would not have been possible without a key donation from the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) Round Up for Conservation program, as well as much-appreciated support from Jerry Hauser, Liza Goitein, Caroline Jacoby, and Howard Wellman.