Researchers associated with natural history museums have made the collection of genetic resources a priority due to their importance in molecular studies, but often the long-term curation of these collections is difficult due to decentralized curation over multiple storage locations and lack of community best practice guidelines for their stewardship. Unlike traditional natural history specimens, the research utility of genetic samples increases with lower storage temperatures and fewer freeze–thaw events and, in addition, their use is consumptive. Collection managers must, therefore, maximize the research potential of each sample by carefully considering use on a case-by-case basis. This paper presents standardized guidelines accumulated for the management of genetic collections associated with natural history collections. These recommended practices are informed by general standards for biorepositories and augmented by information unique to natural history collections with the goal of providing a foundation for those curating genetic samples. Information pertains to all aspects of genetic sample curation and will assist those in making decisions regarding how to collect, store, track, process, and distribute genetic specimen samples. These guidelines also will allow users to make informed decisions regarding how to apply and improve the curation of their collection given their institution's goals and available resources.

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