YIBS-MSCG Overview 1998-2013
Current Projects
Past Projects


Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies Offices
21 Sachem Street, Rooms 132 and 136
New Haven, CT 06511
Phone: (203) 432-9856
Fax: (203) 432-9927

Oswald Schmitz, Director
Rose Rita Riccitelli, Assistant Director
LaToya Sealy, Sr. Administrative Assistant

cover The Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, Molecular Systematics and Conservation Genetics Center (YIBS-MSCG) was established in the fall of 1998, and is open to the entire academic community.  We are located on the first floor of the Environmental Science Center, 21 Sachem Street, New Haven, Connecticut.The Director is Dr. Adalgisa Caccone, Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer for the Department of EEB.

The mission of the MSGC Lab is to facilitate research by providing training in molecualr techniques to undergraduate & graduate students, post-doctoral fellows. Our training techniques take full advantage of the great advances in molecular genetics and evolutionary biology over the past 20 years. The MSGC Lab is equipped with state of the art instrumentation to carry out genetic analyses on nuclei acids. Students are trained in applied sciences and the theory used to interpret data. There are opportunities for learning in a variety of settings , inlcuding shoort and long term rotations, seminars, and one-on-one training sessions with experienced scientists.

Our support is meant for scientists that would like to address environmental, biodiversity, epidemiological, and conservation questions using DNA analyses, but lack the equipment and or knowledge to do so. 

We provide training and support in many areas of evolutionary genetics, molecular systematics, and molecular ecology including:


  • DNA extraction of non-traditional templates, such as museum samples, sub-fossil material, bones, feather, hair, scutes, scales, shed skin, scats, environmental soil and water samples.
  • Primer development for DNA sequencing of non-model organisms.
  • Support for a variety of PCR protocols development and troubleshooting.
  • Microsatellite loci development and optimization.
  • Microsatellite analyses for population and pedigree analyses.
  • Genomic scans using fragment analyses.
  • DNA sequence analyses for phylogeny reconstruction and population level studies.
  • Phylogeographic analyses using DNA sequence and fragment analyses.

We provide partial financial support for training and research projects. Our support allows users of the MSCG Lab to gather preliminary data, perform pilot projects to test for feasibility of a research project, and provide training in molecular techniques. Users interested in developing long-term research projects are strongly encouraged to seek additional funding sources after an initial stage in the lab. The support is intended to bolster the chance of these users to successfully obtain external funding. Space and use of equipment in the MSCG lab is provided to faculty and personnel in their laboratory working on these externally funded projects.

Since 1998 the laboratory has trained more than 100 scientists (undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs and faculty). Undergraduates are mostly Biology majors. Graduate students are master and doctoral students from departments and schools across campus (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Geology, Anthropology, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the School of Epidemiology).

Data collection and training from the MSCG lab has led to external funding support from federal and non-federal sources including: NSF, NIH, WHO (World Health Organization), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Sea Grants, the Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, CT DEP Office of Long Island Sound Program, Marsh Ecology Research Program/NJ Sea Grant, Bay and Paul Foundation, National Geographic Society, Zoological Society, Systematic Society, Sigma Xi, PADI Foundation and Marathon Oil.

For application information please contact the Director, Dr. Adalgisa Caccone.