San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits

Genetics, GENOME, and the San Diego Natural History Museum

Pathway to Genome exhitionEvolution 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.Find a Gene exhibit

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).Pacific Treefrog, Photo by Brad Hollingsworth

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.