Genetic Resources Collection Reorganization Project

Despite more standardized methods for the management of natural history collections, there seemingly is no single standard for the documentation, arrangement, and housing for vital tissues. As a result of the implementation of multiple systems in our tissue collection through the years, the collection was not as efficient as it needed to be.

One of the biggest improvements resulting from this project is the decreased amouHandling Genetic Resourcesnt of time and effort to pull loans. A six-phase project was begun to improve the efficiency and organization of the genetic resources collection. Through the use of a rack and cell box system, each tissue is tracked to the individual location level that is recorded in a database.

The time it now takes to locate and remove a tissue for subsampling has been reduced from up to an hour down to less than a minute. In addition, the organization system reduces the amount of handling time of the associated tissues, and has increasing storage capacities by up to 25%.

Throughout the process the collection has been available for use. Phase III of six, a complete inventory of the collection was completed in early 2006. We are currently in the process of Phase IV , the barcoding as well as cell boxing of older samples for easier retrieval. Most incoming material is barcoded and is cell-boxed immeditely upon integration in to the collection. Concurrently, we are intermittently working on Phase V, voucher data verification of older samples where vouchers are housed at other institutions. This data will complete our tissue database which is already under use but awaiting integration with our voucher database. When all six phases are complete we hope to have a unified database for searching the NSRL collections that includes the samples contained within the GRC.