29 December 2014

Noah's Ark at Moscow State University

Russia plans to build a new "Noah's Ark",
a bank in which the genetic material of all living organisms will be collected

DailyTechInfo based on RT materials: ‘Noah's Ark': Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living thingsMoscow State University (MSU) received 1 billion rubles (about $ 19 million) to provide the largest scientific grant in the history of Russia.

These funds will be spent on the creation of a specialized bank, which will collect genetic material, DNA of all living organisms on the globe, both existing now and species that disappeared in the distant past. The project, called "Noah's Ark", will be the realization of the ideas of the biblical Noah's Ark, only made at the most modern technological level.

"We called our project "Noah's Ark". As part of this project, a huge repository will be created, a bank in which the DNA of every living being on Earth will be located, including not only the species that exist now, but also the extinct species that existed in the distant past of our planet," says Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow State University.

The premises of the genetic information bank, which will be located on an area of 430 square kilometers, should be built by 2018. "The use of the most modern cryogenic technologies will allow us to freeze and preserve various cellular materials, with the help of which in the future it will be possible to reproduce all kinds of living organisms," says Sadovnichy, "In addition, numerous information systems will be located in the "Noah's Ark", because not all genetic material should and can be stored in a Petri dish."

The bank of Noah's Ark will contain all the genetic biomaterial accumulated by the laboratories of numerous departments of Moscow State University, including the Botanical Garden, the Museum of Anthropology, the Zoological Museum and others. Specialists from almost all faculties of Moscow State University will be involved in the ongoing related research, in the collection and comparison of genetic material, and special attention will be paid to the participation of a generation of young scientists in these works.

The created bank "Noah's Ark" will be combined into one structure with all the banks of genetic information that are already available in Russia. In addition, cooperation with similar banks in other countries is envisaged. "If our project is implemented in full, it will make Russia the first country in the world to create a modern analogue of Noah's Ark," Sadovnichy said.

However, such a loud statement is not too true. There are already several banks of genetic information of quite impressive volumes in the world. For example, in the UK there is a project "Frozen Ark", which was launched in 1996 and which became the first such project in the world. The Frozen Ark bank stores DNA samples of extinct animal species and endangered species.

And in the bank of the American National Museum of Natural History (National Museum of Natural History), which is the largest bank today, capable of storing 5 million samples, 4.2 million DNA samples are stored today. In addition, the British Royal Botanic Garden is implementing a project called "Millennium Seed Bank", in which seeds of all plants growing on the globe are collected. In 2009, within the framework of the Millennium Seed Bank project, seeds of 10 percent of all species of flora of our planet were collected, and by 2020 this amount will be 75 thousand, which will be 25 percent of the total number of known plant species.

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