nside every living thing on Earth -including you- is the complete set of instructions needed for an organism to grow and function. The instructions are written in the twisting, ladder-shaped molecule known as DNA. DNA is the thread that connects all life on Earth, from microscopic bacteria to humans. But not all humans are aware of that fact. A new temporary exhibition entitled 'DNA Files: Decoding Natural History
', which will be on display in the Museum's 1st exhibition gallery from December 11, 2013 to April 13, 2014, is answering basic and complex questions about DNA and how DNA research is changing what we know about life on our planet.
The National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung is home to the largest and most important natural history collection in Taiwan, with over 1.2 million specimens ranging from fungal slides to dinosaur fossils. Over 30 researchers have always been using the collections to study the diversity of the natural world, past and present so that the Museum is able to offer an array of educational exhibitions to the public. In the exhibition 'DNA Files: Decoding Natural History', more than 290 specimens are on display to explain the whole story of natural history.
Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 - 19 April 1882), best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory, was the first person to draw a Tree of Life that showed all species of life on Earth are related and evolved over time from a common ancestor. 'DNA Files: Decoding Natural History' is based on Darwin's Life of Tree, using the most up-to-date and comprehensive DNA sequence information to unlock the secrets of organisms.
Evolutionary thought has roots in antiquity. At that time scientists classed all organic beings in groups under groups by their characteristics because they found all organic beings resembled each other in descending degrees from the first dawn of life. In 1859, Darwin proposed common descent and a branching tree of life, meaning that two very different species could share a common ancestor. Nowadays, evolutionists are excited with DNA advances because the basis of DNA can be utilized to document the history of evolution.
In the exhibition, you can explore hands-on interactives, videos, and engaging displays that will brief you on the basics of DNA and provide you with a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible diversity of the Museum's collections. Only a few museums in the island have DNA exhibition inside their walls; The National Museum of Natural Science is the only one you can view close-up. So do not miss your chance to unlock life's code!
"By comparing DNA sequences of genes from one organism to another, we can learn an enormous amount about their relationships," said Dr. Huang Chun-lin, Assistant Curator at the Museum's Biology Department and the organizer of this exhibition at the opening reception. "DNA Files will lead our visitors to explore the secrets of life," noted Huang.
Dr. Sun Wei-hsin, the Museum Director added," The discovery of DNA may be the most important discovery of the last century. The effect of the discovery of DNA on scientific and medical progress has been enormous, and will continue to do so in the future. DNA Files offers lively and interesting knowledge to meet the needs of all age groups with the aim of attracting the entire population to learn about this great discovery."
We have a great line up of speakers covering the topic about DNA and related events. Join us!
Highlights of the exhibition:
Tree of Life: This tree trunk approximating by a circular cylinder of height 4 meters, diameter 2 meters and tree-crown 25 meters stands erect in the center of the gallery. Aside from displaying a variety of species and their relationships, the tree itself is an exquisite artwork.
Gulf of Cetacean Species: In the waters around Taiwan there are 29 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Skulls of 5 species are on display in this exhibition, including Phocoenidae, Ziphidae, Kogia breviceps, Delphinidae, and Balaenopteridae. Worth to mention, a 2-meter-long skull of Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is displayed to the public for the first time.
Reunion of Birds: Since the Fonghuanggu Bird & Ecology Park at Lugu has merged with the Museum in January, 2013, the Museum homes more bird species now. The exhibition offers insight into the evolution of bird family with more than 60 specimens.
DNA Files: Decoding Natural History is organized by the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung in collaboration with Joint Library of Humanity and Social Science, Academia Sinica, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan Cetacean Society, Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture Executive Yuan, National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, NTU, and Department of Life Science, NTNU.