The molecular collection is a state-of-the-art facility designed to safeguard the world’s genetic material for future research
Molecular collections are a unique and valuable resource with the capacity to store genetic material for generations to come.
This molecular collection strives to represent global biodiversity and contains material from a wide range of different taxonomic groups from around the world.
The genetic sequences of organisms stored in this collection contain a wealth of information, including the organism’s evolutionary history, resilience to global changes and their relationship to other organisms and the environment.
The CryoArks project is a BBSRC Bioinformatics and Biological Resources (BBR) funded collaboration between museums, universities, zoos and aquariums. This project aims to create the United Kingdom’s first comprehensive zoological biobank for research and conservation.
CryoArks makes sure that the frozen collections across the United Kingdom are coordinated, cared for and made available for all researchers to use.
The molecular collection facility at the Natural History Museum is one of the hubs where samples are stored.
All CryoArks samples, even those not held at the Natural History Museum, will be made publicly visible and accessible via the CryoArks database.
Insect Pollinators Initiative
The United Kingdom’s Insect Pollinators Initiative (IPI) was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) between 2010-2015 to support projects studying a wide variety of United Kingdom pollinators and their habitats. These projects collected 50,000 United Kingdom pollinator specimens, including bees, flies, beetles, butterflies and moths. The specimens were complete with pollen baskets, gut contents and parasites.
A subsequent BBSRC funded project made it possible to archive these specimens into the nation’s collections at the Natural History Museum. All the specimens were moved into future-proofed barcoded cryotubes for permanent storage in the -80ºC freezers in the molecular collections facility. Expert curators at the Natural History Museum checked the data and updated the taxonomy to make sure it can be discovered and used.
All samples and data from 42,320 specimens from the original United Kingdom IPI project are now available via the NHM Data Portal for researchers worldwide to search through and access.
Over 2 million 0.5ml tubes
- 3 room-temperature humidity controlled cabinets
- 24 -20˚C upright freezers
- 14 -80˚C upright freezers
- 2 -80˚C chest freezers
- 3 -196˚C liquid nitrogen tanks
The molecular collection contains samples from lizards, frogs, birds and bees to mammals, spiders, fish and many more.
BBSRC CryoArks Technician
CryoArks Principal Investigator
Researcher and Culture Facility Manager