The Botanical Garden’s DNA Bank is a centralized repository of frozen plant, algal, and fungal tissue and extracted DNA (a self-replicating material that is the carrier of genetic information) for use in analyzing plants at their most essential levels. DNA Bank collections are a primary resource for research carried out in the Garden’s Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics and Genomics Program. Extracted DNA and tissue collections of the DNA Bank are authoritatively identified, properly documented, cross-referenced to specimens in the Garden’s William and Lynda Steere Herbarium and other herbaria, and managed on the model of traditional museum collections.
Accessions to the DNA Bank have surged in recent years because of the Garden’s escalated efforts to document threatened biodiversity and its commitment to large-scale multi-institutional initiatives such as the Barcode of Life. As part of the Plant Genomics Consortium in New York City —with partners the American Museum of Natural History, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and New York University—the Garden’s role is to formulate the biological questions asked, collect plant tissue, and extract and sequence DNA.
The discovery of DNA and the advent of DNA sequencing as a research technique have greatly accelerated the rate of plant diversity exploration and understanding in the 21st century. The DNA Bank, used by Garden scientists and scientists worldwide, is playing a significant role in that discovery and acceleration.
Organization of the DNA Bank is based upon work supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-0846412.