In January 2012, Dr. James Derr, PhD at Texas A&M University, and Lauren Dobson, the TAMU Ph.D. student involved in this research, traveled to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to collect samples from bison that existed before 1880 for genome sequencing. 42 different samples were taken form bison including multiple animals from the 1850s through the 1880s.
DNA isolation is ongoing from these samples and selected individuals will be sequenced in the near future. Once the genome sequence is determined, current and historic bison genomes will be compared with published domestic cattle breeds, to explore the evolutionary history, phylogenetics and adaptive processes that define bison as a species.
Expected completion 2013.