Gaps and Prioritisation Tool
We are carrying an analysis of the current state in UK animal biobanking using data captured from an online survey already completed by zoos/aquariums, museums and key academic laboratories currently operating within the UK. This will also include an evaluation of the sustainability of the animal biobanking sector, and an inventory and prioritisation of sampling needs.
We are developing a comprehensive, web-enabled sample database and computational infrastructure, to enable rapid and efficient aggregation of diverse sample data, options for links to larger databases, and to enable queries based on a set of common query parameters. Using the Specify open-source software, and fully supported by the University of Kansas, it will provide a user-friendly web environment for sample requests, sample-use monitoring, reporting, updating, and gathering of statistical information on how the resource is being used.
We are expanding the physical infrastructure for maintaining samples within UK animal biobanks. This is being achieved by adding new freezers (-80°C) at the National Museums Scotland, providing space for 120,000 samples and by utilising existing freezer capacity (-196°C and -80°C, c150,000 samples) at the Molecular Collections Facility of the Natural History Museum in London. While some participating institutions may choose to retain their frozen collection, whenever possible, duplicates of important specimens will be stored in CryoArks core facilities.
We have launched a new sampling initiative in UK animal collections, and are advocating for the collection of samples for research and conservation under the Nagoya Protocol, providing coordination, advice and assistance. Sample priorities will be derived from the results of the prioritisation exercise, where gaps will have been identified from existing data and pressure points in terms of demand. We aim to increase the taxonomic diversity of our current frozen collections by 50% within the life of the project.
We are developing activities to disseminate and encourage uptake of the resources created by carrying out a widespread programme of education and awareness-raising within the scientific community and by establishing a strong media presence. We will link with other biobanks in the UK, Europe and globally to promote sustainable and responsible use of genetic resources in compliance with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol.