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National Zoo To Open New Genetics Lab

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By Rebecca Sheir

The Smithsonian's National Zoo says it's increasing efforts to protect endangered species by opening a new genetics lab. The facility will promote collaboration among researchers in multiple fields, including pathology, biology, ecology and veterinary medicine.

While the zoo has been studying genetics for more than two decades, the Smithsonian says state-of-the-art technology will expand the realm of research at the new lab.

Scientists will use the lab to identify gender and determine relationships between animals, as well as to diagnose diseases and monitor populations in the wild.

The eco-friendly building, located on the zoo's "Research Hill," includes recycled materials, insulated metal panels to reduce energy use, an energy-efficient heat-recovery unit and a sensor-controlled lighting system.

The lab is scheduled to open tomorrow morning.

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