Accomplishing our goals through GGBN, GGI Gardens and GGI Funded Research
Today and far in to the future, researchers from myriad disciplines will study plant and animal samples – our Earth’s Bounty – preserved by Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) scientists. These samples are now used in a new type of research that is changing the world. Genomics is the greatest revolution in 21st century biological research to date. From conservation, to environmental monitoring, to food safety, to spectacular advances in biotechnology and benefits to humankind, genomics is a revolutionary technology for all of them. The Global Genome Initiative (GGI) and the Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) seek to accelerate and optimize progress towards these goals through the global leadership provided by the Smithsonian Institution. GGI is a strategic six year Smithsonian program, and GGBN is its signature accomplishment. By focusing on all of life rather than piecemeal subsets, GGI has identified the most urgent priorities for all applications of biodiversity genomics research. The Smithsonian’s biorepository is perhaps the flagship facility for biodiversity genomics and seeks to maintain that position through the continued growth and investment in genetic collections for research both at the Smithsonian and globally.
GGI, to date, has funded over 150 projects strategically aimed at advancing knowledge of genomic diversity. Early on, GGI working within the unique framework of the Smithsonian, focused on eliminating the biggest obstacle obstructing universal genomic research: the preservation of, and access to, genomic samples. Realizing that global progress towards this goal required international partnership and collaboration, GGI founded and leads GGBN, the pre-eminent worldwide guide to accessible biodiversity genomic samples.
GGBN is an international network of biorepositories because multilateral collaboration is essential in the 21st century. This five year old, rapidly expanding network already has 73 members in 30 countries, over 1.8 million samples, and already contains over a third of all biological families on Earth. GGBN is a “big data” one-stop index to all scientific genomic samples on Earth, serving as the infrastructure for GGI collections.
With the collections infrastructure well in place through GGBN, the Global Genome Initiative is now focusing its efforts in strategically filling those collections starting with gaps in plant biodiversity. The Global Genome Initiative for Gardens (GGI-Gardens) is an international partnership dedicated to preserving and understanding plant diversity on Earth by sampling tissues from gardens, greenhouses, and arboreta and making the records of these tissues discoverable for research in order to better understand their relevance to humanity. The Gardens partnership currently consists of 19 members from five countries, currently working towards the preservation and discoverability of their living collections.