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Russia wants to create a “Noah’s Ark” for animal DNA

Institutions have already been amassing huge DNA collections to catalog the world’s creatures, but Moscow State University might just top them all. It’s planning to build “Noah’s Ark,” a repository for the genes of every creature, living or extinct — as long as the genes are readable, they’ll either be cryogenically frozen or stored as pure data. Not surprisingly, it’s going to be a massive undertaking in more ways than one. 

The New Cold War is about to live up to its name a bit more literally. Researchers in Russia want to build the world’s largest repository for DNA, storing the genetic material of every creature on Earth, both living and extinct. Researchers at Moscow State University have secured a grant of roughly $194 million to make it happen. They hope to build a 166 square mile facility to house the project and are referring to it as “Noah’s Ark.” RT News reports that it’s the first of its kind in the world. But that’s simply not true. The National Museum of Natural History has the largest biorepository in the world right now, with over 4.2 million samples. Their facility has the potential to expand to 5 million vials, but clearly Russia hopes to surpass them after their facility opens in 2018.

 

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