The genetics lab is a facility set up to help the staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden better utilize the powerful tools of genetic analysis for critical conservation needs. These techniques, which are often underutilized in conservation efforts, can aid in the preservation of rare plants by providing important data to guide management, future research, and policy. The lab is equipped to use many of the molecular markers now commonly employed in genetic studies, including amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR), microsatellites, isozymes and DNA sequencing.
Another important role of the genetics lab is the training of interns, students and volunteers in laboratory techniques. In teaching molecular techniques to a diverse audience, we hope these methods will be increasingly used to drive conservation research forward.