State-of-the-art DNA lab for WA Museum

Tuesday, 07 February, 2012

John Day - Minister for Planning; Culture and the Arts; Science and Innovation - has officially opened a new science and research facility at the Western Australian Museum’s Collection and Research Centre. The opening was also attended by Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

Day said the Molecular Systematics Unit was a new state-of-the art laboratory for the identification of Western Australian fauna using modern DNA technology.

“Opening the facility is a significant milestone for the WA Museum, enabling the organisation to undertake cutting-edge molecular research on a variety of WA animals,” he said.

“The laboratory will allow for the accurate identification of new species using molecular tools and methods that will provide, among other things, better certainty for environmental impact assessments to government and industry.

“This facility will become the hub of the museum’s research in understanding and identifying WA fauna which tell the extraordinary stories about our state.

“This will ensure the museum can continue to work with and expand its partnerships with other government departments such as Environment and Conservation, Fisheries, and of course working with the museum’s industry partners such as Rio Tinto Iron Ore.”

In November 2010, the WA Museum received Environmental Offset funding of $1.6 million from Rio Tinto Iron Ore for the construction and staffing of the Molecular Systematics Unit.

“The WA Museum has long awaited the development of such a facility that will aid genetic analysis of the state’s fauna, a task that the museum has in the past outsourced to other organisations at considerable cost,” the Minister said.

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