In 2004 I started a Master’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology in the Oswaldo Cruz Institute. This is a very beautiful institution in Rio de Janeiro! Check out their homepage!
My undergraduate final project was on phylogenetic analyses of black howler monkeys. And I decided to continue with howler monkeys, but for my Masters I studied another species, the red-handed howler monkey (see picture).
I learned in more details about phylogenetic analyses and making inferences based on their behavior and geographic distribution.
Yes! That is some cool stuff about evolution… understanding whether geographic distribution is related to animal diversity.
I had access to DNA sample of these monkeys. However, it was very difficult to generated DNA sequences for my analyses… And we used to have these jokes about PCR machines being governed by the phases of the moon! Because it is inexplicable how a reaction can work in one day and not in the other! From trying to figure out reasons of why my reaction was not working, I finally managed to have my DNA sequences and my dissertation was finally born!
I end up finishing my Masters in one and half year because I decided to carry out my PhD project in Australia!
Yes! I lived in Sydney Australia for about 4 years and that will be the topic of my next post!
PS. I will create a glossary page to redirect each difficult word that appear in my texts… for example, phylogenetics, PCR etc, etc, etc.