Genetics, GENOME, and the San Diego Natural
of species genomes results in biodiversity. This is important to
the San Diego Natural History Museum because it ties in with our mission,
our research endeavors,
and our bioregion, which happens to be a major biodiversity hotspot.
The Museum has a small genetics lab. There, we harvest and keep
tissue samples for direct analysis-sequencing and analyzing DNA. Dr.
Brad Hollingsworth, Curator of Herpetology,
runs the lab and the specimens are largely herpetological. We collaborate
with other researchers, mainly from universities in San Diego.
Through the study of DNA and genetics, we understand biodiversity
and biological evolution. While the exhibition Genome: The Secret
of How Life Works focuses on the human genome,
the principles apply to all life. This research is important to
conservation because it is the tool that enables us to determine
the health of populations (basically, diversity in gene pool
= health and success of population).
Our collections are the
end product of DNA. DNA is a set of instructions, and our collections
(life) are the manifestation of those instructions. Our research
and exhibitions are centered on life and the history of life. Not
only, "Why am I different than other people?" but "How did cephalopods come
into being?" for example.