Researchers from a variety of disciplines will study the plant and animal samples we gather, today and far into the future. We are preserving them in huge sub-zero freezers, in perpetuity.
The National Museum of Natural History's new biorepository can hold more than 4 million samples. As the tools for decoding genomes improve, researchers can return to these collections to extract new information.
Collaboration is essential, which is why the Global Genome Initiative helping to organize an international network of biorepositories. It will be a one-stop index to all scientifically-relevant genomic samples on Earth. The expanding network already has more than 35 partners; they are on every continent except Antarctica.