Summary

Mass digitization of U.S. biodiversity collections would position the nation to achieve massive advances in the life sciences—a leap forward on par with the way that DNA technology transformed genomics at the start of the 21st century. This heritage consists of hundreds of millions of dry, wet, and otherwise preserved specimens in U.S. museums and other collections, including plant germplasm, microbial cultures, non-human biomedical samples (e.g., parasites), fossils, and other plant and animal samples. This proposal presents actions for the Biden-Harris Administration to take to catalyze this advance to pave the way for a sustained, coordinated effort to mass digitize the physical specimens in U.S. biodiversity collections (and their associated metadata).