The laboratory collections consist of liquid preserved specimens, a reference seed collection, the Langenheim Resin Collection, a pollen reference collection, a microscope slide collection, phytochemical research collections, and a DNA bank. The collections are used to understand plant structure and development, and are also a valuable source of material for genomic and molecular systematics studies.
The DNA Bank serves as the repository for samples of frozen tissue and genomic DNA that are the foundation for research conducted in the Botanical Garden’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics and the Genomics Program. To further the Garden’s mission to explore, understand, and conserve plant diversity, the DNA Bank provides long-term storage of readily available samples of plant and fungal species from the diverse geographic areas in which Garden scientists work.
More information: DNA bank search
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Langenheim Resin Collection
Jean H. Langenheim's research collection of plant exudates (resins) was donated to the Botanical Garden in 2003. Including more than 330 resin samples, the Langenheim Collection comprises collections made by Langenheim herself and collections given to her by other researchers. These include Nicholas T. Mirov’s historically important Pinus resins and Joseph Bunnett’s specimens from New Zealand. The resins in the Langenheim Collection are cross-referenced to herbarium specimens in several herbaria in the United States.
Liquid-preserved collections are whole plants or plant parts stored in fluid-filled jars to preserve their three-dimensional character. These collections are used for both macroscopic and microscopic observations of plant diversity. Important components of the Liquid-Preserved Collections are Bassett Maguire and collaborators’ plant specimens from the Guayana region; cycad specimens; plant family Ericaceae specimens, including the materials amassed during Barbara Palser’s career; Lecythidaceae; palms; and other monocotyledons. The teaching section of the Collection emphasizes North American and Neotropical plant families. The Liquid-Preserved Collections are housed in a modern collection storage room on compact shelving.
Microscope Slide Collections
The mounting of small specimens on glass microscope slides is often critical for successful observation. The extensive collection of reference microscope slides and associated laboratory notebooks in the Microscope Slide Collection has been amassed through research by Botanical Garden scientists and donations from other scientists. The teaching section of the Collection has been developed for university-level comparative plant biology instruction. The Collection is housed in a modern collection storage room on compact shelving.
N. Britton & P. Wilson Reference Seed Collection
The N. Britton & P. Wilson Reference Seed Collection was begun by the Botanical Garden’s first director, Nathaniel Lord Britton, in Puerto Sierra, Honduras, in 1915. The Collection comprises over 1400 samples representing more than 140 plant families and focuses on plants occurring in the Caribbean. These samples are stored dried in ambient conditions and are primarily used as an identification tool. The Britton & Wilson Seed Collection is cross-referenced to herbarium specimens in the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium.
Phytochemical Research Collections
The Phytochemical Research Collections have been assembled as part of the Botanical Garden’s collaborative programs with the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, Pfizer Inc, Merck & Co., Inc., and others to discover novel compounds with potential pharmaceutical use. The Phytochemical Collections include a large, diverse library of vascular plant extracts (ca. 24,000) and bulk tissue samples that cross-reference the extracts. All phytochemical research collections are also cross-referenced to herbarium specimens in the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium.
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More information: Laboratory Research Projects