Genomic Resources

Genomic Resources

open weekdays 8am - 5pm
visitors welcome by appointment
information for visitors

phone: (505) 277-1360
fax: (505) 277-1351
museum administrator


Mariel Campbell
Division of Genomic Resources
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Loans and Sampling Policies and Procedures

Search the MSB Arctos Database for samples available for loan by clicking “Require Tissues” at top left of Search page.

Tissue Loan Policy

Unlike traditional specimens, tissue samples are depleted with each use. Thus, MSB curators have formulated guidelines to ensure that destructive sampling does not exhaust these limited resources. These guidelines include formal review of all requests by collections personnel. Our overall goal is to preserve and enhance the value of the collections for scientific investigators.

Download a copy of this policy.

Loan requests received between November-January and May-August may be processed on a delayed schedule due to reduced staffing.

How to Request a Tissue Loan

To request a loan of tissue samples housed in the MSB Division of Genomic Resources, please submit a formal loan request to the appropriate MSB Division by following the links in the table below. Loan requests will be considered according to the policy set by each MSB Division. In addition, please email the DGR supplemental loan form to

Taxonomic Group Loan Information
Herps Division of Amphibians and Reptiles Loan Policy
Birds Division of Birds Loan Policy
Fish Division of Fishes Loan Policy
Parasites Division of Parasites Loan Policy
Mammals Division of Mammals Loans and Use of the Collection

Loan costs: All shipping costs are the responsibility of the recipient. Additional charges may be required for international shipments. In addition, a per specimen fee of $25-100/sample may be assessed by each MSB Division to recoup some of the cost associated with specimen collection and curation (see DGR Tissue Loan Philosophy).

Loan requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to the following criteria:

  • Amount of material in the DGR collections.A subsample will not be taken if there is insufficient material to maintain an equal quantity of reserve sample in DGR.
  • The kind and extent of request, including whether it duplicates previous efforts.
  • Availability of material from wild or captive sources, and efforts by the investigator(s) to obtain such material.
  • Rarity and potential to replace the samples (i.e., distribution and abundance of the taxon relative to the location of the user). Obviously, each sample is irreplaceable.
  • Demonstrated ability of the investigator(s) to perform the work, complete the project, and publish the results in a high impact, peer-review journal.
  • Financial support for the project
  • Commitment of the investigator to support the growth of collections by depositing specimens or providing reciprocal specimens to the DGR collection.
  • In some instances, material may be made unavailable for loan because a researcher who has collected and deposited material in the MSB has requested a “grace period” or “no-loan period” in order to conduct his/her own research.

Loan approval and shipment:

  • Once approved, loans will be processed in the order in which they are received.
  • The MSB has a standard moratorium on shipping loans (outgoing or return) between Thanksgiving and the end of the New Year holiday due to both staffing limitations and the unpredictability of shipping during this time period. In addition, loan requests for June–August received after 1st of May will incur delays due to low staffing during the summer months.
  • Prior notification will be provided to the borrower before loans are shipped, in order to ensure safe and timely transport and receipt of the loan.

Tissue Loan Philosophy

The Division of Genomic Resources (DGR) collections are, first and foremost, research collections. The governing consideration in use of MSB-DGR tissues is the value, impact, and feasibility of the proposed project, in addition to the rarity of each specimen. The conservation of specimens is paramount, given that DGR maintains a consumable collection. We emphasize that destructive samples are intended to supplement research materials obtained from other sources, not replace primary data collection efforts such as field sampling of extant taxa. While we strongly encourage collections-based research, our obligation to protect the MSB’s holdings may require that some requests for destructive samples be denied. Requests for sampling of DGR tissues is an explicit acknowledgment that the researcher supports legitimate scientific collecting, and that he/she values the time and effort that goes into collecting, preparing, and maintaining museum collections. In exchange for granting these samples for scientific study, we may occasionally ask researchers to provide verbal or written support of scientific collecting and our collections.

DGR tissue loans are available to legitimate users in scientific community for research and occasionally educational purposes. We prioritize loans to those who support collection building through their research program, and we will continue to provide reciprocal exchange of materials with these specimen-based researchers (standard FedEx rates apply). Given the increasing cost associated with field collection, sample curation, and the destructive nature of tissue loans, curators of each division will review all loan requests to determine an appropriate fee structure for researchers outside of this community.

Reciprocity Criteria for Destructive Sampling of Mammal Tissues

Reciprocity Criteria: We require borrowers to adhere to one of the four criteria listed below. Please select which of the following best meets your interaction with the MSB.

Specific Destructive Loan Requirements: The borrower must demonstrate equal reciprocity relative to the Destructive Loan request. 

The borrower can meet this stipulation by completing any of the following:

A) Deposit research material (specimens, tissues, etc.) deemed of equal scientific value in an accessible museum collection. Deposition of specimens in a museum not accredited by an appropriate scientific society (e.g., American Society of Mammalogists) must meet the approval of the Curator of Mammals, MSB.

B) Provide research material (of equal value) to MSB for material borrowed from MSB collections. These may include vouchered samples for permanent disposition in MSB or loans of tissues to our university researchers.

C) Provide funding towards MSB fieldwork to replace material associated with the Destructive Loan.

D) For Destructive Loans, applicants who cannot fulfill one of A-C, above, may be charged a replacement and service fee to help defray the cost of acquiring and maintaining the collection, as well as the handling, subsampling, and packaging of the loan. This fee will range from $25 to $100 per sample and will be determined on a case-by-case basis to be commensurate with the rarity of the specimen and the extent of the services provided. This range is conservative as it is based on older estimates (Bradley et al. 2012; and Baker et al. 2014) for the cost of collecting, preparing, curating, cataloging, and maintaining mammal specimens. We encourage all researchers to include reimbursement costs for such Destructive Loan service fees when preparing research grant proposals. 

Loan Conditions

Please check for additional requirements with each MSB Division.

  • Specimens used in publications, reports, or presentations should be included in a "Specimens Examined" section and listed in the following format “MSB:Mamm:123456” for mammals, “MSB:Bird:123456”for birds, “MSB:Herp:123456” for reptiles and amphibians, “MSB:Fish:123456” for fish, and “MSB:Para:123456” for parasites.
  • Sequences obtained from MSB tissues or traditional specimens must be submitted to GenBank so that they are accessible to other researchers.These sequences must be referenced to the MSB catalog number in the following format,e.g. “MSB:Mamm:123456”.
  • The Museum should be acknowledged in any publications or presentations that result from the use of its specimens in the following format: "Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico."
  • Loans are made only to faculty, curators, and permanent research staff at institutions with facilities to properly house and care for specimens.Students and post-docs must request loans through their major advisor or mentor and the major advisor or mentor must sign the original loan request and subsequent loan forms. Individuals who are not affiliated with such an institution may request a loan if they have made prior arrangements with an appropriate institution for housing of specimens, and if that institution agrees in writing (an email or PDF document will suffice in most circumstances) to receive the specimens on the researcher's behalf.
  • The Museum maintains proprietary rights over the object(s) loaned.Included within these proprietary rights are intellectual property rights and patents. Commercial use of material on loan is prohibited. Patenting of products discovered in MSB specimens or ancillary materials is not allowed without the written consent of the Director of the Museum.
  • Loans are made only for the specific research defined in the original request. If alterations to the original request are needed (e.g., sequencing a different gene or using a different method than originally proposed), then written approval must be obtained from the appropriate Curator prior to initiating new procedures.
  • Requests for permission to transfer specimens between institutionsare handled by contacting the appropriate Curator for prior written approval.
  • It is the borrower’s responsibility to immediately report specimen damage and/or discrepancies in the invoice.
  • Unused tissues and extractions must be returned to DGR upon completion of the proposed project.
  • Loans that are made to other institutions by MSB are subject to the condition that, should MSB desire to recall any item for its own purposes, it may do so with 30 days notice to the borrower.
  • Frozen tissue must be maintained in an ultra-cold facility (- 80°C freezer or liquid nitrogen) until used.
  • Patenting of products discovered in these specimens (or ancillary materials) is not allowed without the written consent of the Director of the Museum of Southwestern Biology.
  • The curator may request tissues in exchange for those received from the MSB collections. These may include vouchered samples for permanent disposition in the MSB, or exchanges of loans of tissues from other institutions.
  • The MSB is not responsible for verifying the taxonomic identification of tissues or vouchers.The MSB will assist, where possible, with identification endeavors, but the ultimate responsibility for accurate identification lies with the borrower and authors of publications using vouchers or tissues.
  • Please report specimen re-identifications, taxonomic updates, data corrections, or the assignment of any secondary numbers to the specimen to the MSBin writing or electronically (e.g., Excel), associated with the voucher catalog (MSB) or tissue (NK) number, by the end of the loan period or sooner.
  • PDF reprints should be sent to MSB DGR staff and curators of the relevant taxonomic division.
  • If a borrower does not meet conditions and requirements of a loan,then all materials must be immediately returned to MSB and MSB reserves the right to refuse future loans to that borrower and the affiliated institution until such conditions are resolved.


  • Requests for tissues must be accompanied by copies of all requisite permits.
  • For foreign researchers, this includes a copy of all import permits required by the foreign government. If no permit is needed, the researcher must state such in writing at the time that the tissue request is submitted.
  • Requests from foreign researchers for tissue of species regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (e.g., CITES-species, endangered species, marine mammals, migratory birds) will not be processed without the proper U.S. export permits (species listed only under CITES may be exported under a Certificate of Scientific Exchange if the receiving institution possesses such a certificate.
  • Requests from U.S. researchers for tissue of species regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture must be accompanied by a copy of a USDA transport permit, issued to the recipient or his/her institution.
  • All exports will be declared by the MSB through submittal of a USFWS 3-177.
  • CDC regulated species must include permitting from CDC.