Genetic Resources

Genetic Resources Collections

The Genetic Resource Collection (GRC) at the Burke Museum is one of the largest such collections in the world.

Started in 1986, the collection now includes over 70,000 tissue samples from birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Fish tissues are kept separately as part of the Ichthyology Collection. The taxonomic breadth of the GRC reflects our strong commitment to general, in addition to research-driven, collecting. We also obtain tissues from animals salvaged by zoos, government and wildlife organizations, and the public.

Tissues are stored in six -80°C ultracold freezers, and most are associated with vouchers (animals) in the Burke specimen collections.

Search the Collections

  • Bird tissues. Search the Burke’s Ornithology database.
  • Mammal tissues. Search the Burke’s Mammalogy database.
  • Reptile and Amphibian tissues. Search the Arctos website. To search Burke specimens only, select “UWBM Herp” from the Collection drop-down menu.
  • Fish tissues. The Burke’s Ichthyology Collection cares for tissue specimens separately. Search the Ichthyology database and/or contact the collections manager on the Ichthyology People and Contact page) for more information.

Collection Details

Stuffed bird specimens with identification tags lying face up in a row
Photo: Burke Museum
Bird Tissue Samples

Highlight: Third largest collection in the world

The GRC includes tissues samples from more than 57,000 birds.

Regional strengths include:

  1. The Pacific Northwest
  2. The American Southwest
  3. The North Pacific and New Zealand (seabirds)
  4. Russia and Mongolia
  5. The South Pacific (especially the Solomon Islands and Australia)
  6. Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
  7. Bolivia and Argentina
  8. Malawi and South Africa
  9. Singapore

 

Preserved rodent specimens with identification tags lying face down on a white background
Photo: Andrew Waits
Mammal Tissue Samples

The GRC includes tissues samples from more than 9,000 mammals, with a focus on mammals from the Pacific Northwest.

 

Snake specimens preserved in jars
Photo: Burke Museum
Reptile and Amphibian Tissue Samples

The GRC includes tissues samples from more than 2,000 reptiles and amphibians with recent collections from Ghana, Arizona, and Mexico.

 

Fish specimens preserved in jars
Photo: Andrew Waits
Fish Tissue Samples

The Burke’s Ichthyology Collection cares for tissue specimens separately. These can be searched through the Ichthyology database. For more information about these samples, contact the Ichthyology Collections Manager listed on the Ichthyology People and Contact page).

 

Collections-Related Services

For information about tissue loans, see the Services and Policies page.

Publications by Burke Researchers

More than 500 publications have been based on research using specimens from the Burke’s Genetic Resources Collection. Some of these are available in the Burke’s publications database, which is no longer being updated while new solutions are pursued. Please contact the genetic resources collections manager (on the People and Contact page) for information about publications within the last several years.

 

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