NSC Alliance President, Dr. William Brown, has published a commentary, “Conservation: Invest in a DNA bank for all species,” in the 25 August 2011 issue of Nature.

An excerpt from the article:

To complement its efforts to conserve nature in the wild, the Convention on Biological Diversity should develop a comprehensive and adequately funded global effort to preserve intact genomes and viable cells for every known species and for new species as they are discovered. Super-cold freezing is the current method of choice, from a whole rhino skin to a bacterium.

Freezing tissue costs US$200–300 per species, with negligible maintenance costs. Preserving material from all the roughly 1.8 million known species would cost about $540 million. The United States spends more than $1 billion every four days on the war in Afghanistan. So less than $1 billion to preserve the DNA of all known species on Earth, with whom we share billions of years of evolutionary history, seems like good value.

To view the full article (fee may apply), please visit http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7361/full/476399a.html.