Living collections: care and curation at Drosophila stock centres.
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Bangham, J. (2019). Living collections: care and curation at Drosophila stock centres.. BJHS themes, 4 123-147. https://doi.org/10.1017/bjt.2019.14
Biological stock centres collect, care for and distribute living organisms for scientific research. In the 1990s, several of the world's largest Drosophila (fruit fly) stock centres were closed or threatened with closure. This paper reflects on why this happened, and uses the visibility of these endings to examine how stock centre collections are managed, who maintains them and how they are kept valuable and accessible to biologists. One stock centre came under threat because of challenges in caring for flies and monitoring the integrity of stocks. Another was criticized for keeping too many 'archival' stocks, an episode that reveals what it can mean for a living scientific collection to remain 'relevant' to a research community. That centre also struggled with the administrative and documentary practices that have proved crucial for sustaining a collection's meaning, value and availability. All of the stock centres in this story faced challenges of how to pay for care and curation, engaging with a problem that has been discussed by biologists and their funders since the 1940s: what are the best models for stock provision, and how could these models be changed?
Wellcome Trust (200299/Z/15/Z, 200299)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/bjt.2019.14
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/304110
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/