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Cetacean Tissue Bank

Stranded blue whale, Co. Wexford 1891
The Irish Cetacean Genetic Tissue Bank (ICGTB) was established in 2007 with support from the Heritage Council and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Every whale or dolphin that dies around the Irish coastline is sampled and a piece of skin added to an archive that is available for research.

Most samples come in through the strandings scheme operated by IWDG on an all-island basis, but others come from researchers. The National Museum of Ireland holds these samples and makes them available to specialists who study their DNA.

Researchers who want to take sub-samples from the tissue bank must apply to the National Museum of Ireland and their application needs to address the following:
  • What is the scientific question being addressed by the project?
  • Why is a sample required?
  • Has the person/team involved carried out similar destructive analysis before? (we want to ensure the rare material is not sampled repeatedly until a procedure works, the people need to be experienced with comparable museum collection sampling and using tried and tested techniques)
Conditions attached to samples
  • all sample materials remain as our property and are returned to us
  • the information will be published within 2 years and if not published the results of the analyses in full will be lodged with us on file for other researchers to access
  • DNA results will be lodged with GenBank and we get notified of their reference numbers
  • NMI receives a copy of any publications, authors use the full register number code in publication, and source of all samples is acknowledged
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Natural History

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