A new high tech genetics lab will open at the National Zoo Tuesday with a mission to help protect endangered species in the wild and in zoos around the world.
Researchers will study saliva, hair, feathers and shed skin to identify gender, diagnose disease and monitor wildlife populations in nature.
The lab will be located on the zoo’s research hill and will house pathologists, veterinarians, ecologists and behaviorists. The focus will be on conservation and evolutionary genetics. Some researchers will study ancient DNA pulled from subfossil bones and mummies.
The lab was built with conservation in mind. It’s eco-friendly, including recycled materials and energy efficient heat and lighting systems.