Welcome

Welcome to the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics

The work of the American Museum of Natural History lies at the heart of many of science's most promising directions. Founded in 1869, the Museum's mission is to discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.

To effectively organize and build upon these remarkable gains in genomics research, the Museum established, in spring 2001, the Institute for Comparative Genomics (ICG). Thanks to the exceptional support of The Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, Inc., the Museum's Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics has become a preeminent center for research, collections, and training in the field of non-human comparative genomics and in the pursuit of seminal research in the study of gene variation, which informs our understanding of the human genome, the evolution and history of life, and the conservation of Earth's biodiversity. The integral research conducted through the Sackler Institute tackles many of the world's most pressing environmental issues, including the preservation of biodiversity. The Sackler Institute and its three laboratories, along with the Ambrose Monell Collection for Molecular and Microbial Research, produce research and resources that connect with and aid in the work of nearly 80 Museum scientists, including curators, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and support staff. The Sackler Institute also supports the work of collaborating scientists at a wide range of partner institutions, which in the past year have included Weill Cornell Medical College and the Rockefeller University, among others.

During 2013, the Museum implemented an organized pyrosequencing pipeline to maximize the use of the onsite Roche 454 Junior next-generation sequencer for low-cost, ultra-speed DNA sequencing in a series of transformational genomics projects. Chief among these has been the sequencing of organisms in the Museum's collections, creating the first-ever draft genomes of the cockroach and bedbug (New York City's "living fossils"), as well as the dragonfly, medicinal leech, and King bird-of-paradise samples. On the "back end" of the pipeline, which deals with data analysis, the Sackler Institute also added new server capacity and storage through the introduction of a PowerEdge R910 server with 80 virtual computer cores, 16 terabytes of storage, and one terabyte of memory.

During the same year Museum joined the New York Genome Center (NYGC) consortium. The NYGC is an independent, not-for-profit consortium which provides sequencing services for member organizations along with other benefits that include data storage, scientific training, and opportunities for collaboration with fellow members. Member organizations represent the largest consumers of genomic data in New York City and, in addition to the Museum, include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York-Presbyterian, New York University, The Rockefeller University, and Stony Brook State University of New York.