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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Biobanking Nature

Over time, biobanks and computers will produce a relatively rapid explosion of new knowledge. A weekend article from the NYT makes the point nicely as it describes a biobanking project well underway at the American Museum of Natural History, and the related Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics with its Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection. the The museum already holds millions of examples of nature, and some day "museumomics" no doubt will be applied to some of the specimens. Now, however, the collection also includes 70,000 frozen samples of 40,000 species, all collected since 2001.

As to computers expanding knowledge, the pace and scale are exponential. The following quote makes the point: "Some of the data that the [computers] process comes from the genomics laboratory in the Sackler Institute, where the power of DNA sequencing has grown with astonishing speed. “Any of the students up here could do my thesis in five minutes,” Rob DeSalle, curator of the division of invertebrate zoology, said. “It may even be five seconds.”

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