From Plant Press, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2016.
By Morgan Gostel
If you’ve seen a blue, collapsible wagon being wheeled around the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center (MSC), or traveling along the grounds of the mall between NMNH and the U.S. Botanic Garden, you’re either catching a glimpse of the latest D.C. tourist transport, or – more likely – you’re witnessing your friendly neighborhood genomic voucher preparation team! Upon closer inspection, you will notice a liquid nitrogen dewar among other more traditional tools of the botany trade. This wagon and its accompanying collection team are part of a new program aimed at collecting and preserving genomic tissues from a huge diversity of plants.
The Global Genome Initiative (GGI) recently began a new program with the Department of Botany and three other local Washington, D.C. partners called GGI–Gardens which is aimed at collecting all families and half of the genera from the world’s plants. The program – initiated by Vicki Funk and now managed by GGI Buck post-doctoral fellow, Morgan Gostel – kicked off last summer (you may have read about it in the July 2015 edition of The Plant Press). Since this time, the GGI–Gardens team has been in a collecting frenzy visiting gardens and greenhouses in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. National Arboretum, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Smithsonian Gardens.