The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History announced that scientists with the museum’s Global Genome Initiative—a component of the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics—will capture the genomic diversity of half the world’s living plant genera in less than two years. The Smithsonian aims to preserve plant genome diversity at time when scientists have recently estimated that the rate of species extinction for all life may be up to 100 times higher than normal. The effort will catapult the Global Genome Initiative closer to achieving its goal of preserving half of the genomic diversity of life on Earth in networked biorepositories, worldwide. To accelerate the rate of collecting and concentrate the diversity of plants to be sampled, Smithsonian scientists and their partners will gather initial samples from gardens within the Washington, D.C., area.

Read More: Smithsonian launches effort to capture plant genome diversity amid global biodiversity crisis