Grant policy and loan request procedures
The DNA Bank of the Natural History Museum of Oslo (NHMO) consists of frozen, dried or alcohol-preserved tissues, blood samples and DNA extracts of vertebrates, invertebrates and plants. These are stored in a DNA-friendly way, for the purpose of a wide spectrum of modern molecular analyses. We encourage its use by the international, non-profit, research community. Below the rationale of the NHMO DNA Bank grant policy and the procedures for obtaining loans from the DNA Bank are described.
Rationale of the NHMO DNA Bank grant policy
- DNA and tissue collections differ from traditional museum collections
Unlike most museum specimens, tissues are consumed by researchers. Thus, DNA or tissue “loans” are in fact grants of a limited resource. As a result, our grant policy takes steps to prevent depletion of the collection.
- Tissues are often expensive, difficult, time-consuming, and sometimes hazardous to collect
Tissue samples are the limiting resource in molecular studies, yet the importance and difficulty of collecting tissues (and specimens in general) is not widely acknowledged in DNA laboratories and in the broader scientific community.
- The NHMO DNA Bank is interested in the fate of the tissues it grants
We keep careful records of how tissues are used. This information may be required to fulfil obligations to the country where the specimen originated, and it is useful for grant proposals.
- The NHMO DNA Bank is committed to the letter and spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including the Nagoya Protocol, and operates in compliance with the CETAF and GGBN codes of conduct
Grantees are expected to act in agreement with this, as verified by signing the Material Transfer Agreement (MTAs).
NHMO DNA Bank grant policy
- Preference is given to researchers who also collect specimens themselves
The NHMO DNA Bank will normally not provide the majority of tissues for a project; we expect researchers to collect most of their specimens themselves. Requests for samples should normally not exceed 10 samples per taxon, or 30 samples in total. Requests for more samples may be rejected or asked to reduce the number of samples, and/or compensation may be required.
- Preference is given to quality research
Quality is judged ad-hoc for each request, usually by the scientific curator of the tissue collection and/or the curator in charge of the specific sub-collection. The grantee must be a qualified researcher who is likely to publish the results of his/her research. DNA sequence data obtained from the samples must be made available to the research community; see MTA for details.
Restrictions on sample availability may apply
For some samples a clarification of status with respect to e.g. conflicts of interest, intended use or juridical limitations may be required. This process may result in the samples no longer being available for loan.
Students and researchers lacking institutional affiliation have to request the loan through a permanent staff member of an appropriate institution
For students this will typically be their supervisor. The permanent staff member and his/her institution will assume responsibility for use of the samples.
By signing the MTA to be enclosed with the loan request, successful grantees agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the MTA
Requesting samples from the NHMO DNA Bank
To request samples from the NHMO DNA Bank, follow this procedure:
- Identify the objects of interest by searching our online databases or the GGBN data portal, or requesting a list of relevant objects from the curator of the DNA Bank; see Searching the NHMO DNA Bank for details.
- Prepare a loan request including the following elements (scanned PDFs are preferrable, where applicable):
- A brief outline of the goals, methods, and time-frame of the project, justifying the use of the samples (less than 1 page).
- Names and affiliations of investigators involved.
- Students or researchers lacking institutional affiliation should also submit a letter co-signed by their advisor or some other permanent staff, who will assume responsibility for use of the samples.
- A signed copy of the Material Transfer Agreement;
- A list of the requested specimens by name and accession number (“Requested specimens”).
- Copies of permits (if required; e.g. CITES or import permits).
- Send the request by e-mail to the DNA Bank (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Upon receiving the requested samples, please sign the accompanying Loan receipt and return this to the DNA Bank to formally finalize the loan.
For addresses and other contact details, see Staff & contact info.