Join CryoArks

The CryoArks project aims to collate molecular samples, frozen collections and data from UK universities, zoos, museums and institutes. All who participate are contributing to improving access to valuable samples for research and conservation, enabling transportation and use of genetic resources, compliant with the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.

What CryoArks can do for you:

CryoArks will benefit those seeking samples, those wishing to deposit samples (whether as a back-up or for long-term secure storage) and those seeking advice on sampling and storage by offering a centralised resource that research and conservation projects can link in.

  • Support for auditing and sorting in the form of standard operating procedures, training, joint volunteer programmes and site visits to provide relevant advice.
  • Facility to house your collection if you choose to transfer it to one of our hubs either at the Natural History Museum in London or at National Museums Scotland.
  • Increased access to unique or rare samples via our searchable online database, samples which would otherwise be difficult/costly/impossible to access.
  • But you are collecting to augment your collection and wish to take tissue samples before the specimen is fixed or prepared, then they could be deposited in one of the CryoArks hubs. Any researchers requesting tissue samples from your specimens will then be directed to the biobank where the high-quality molecular grade samples are stored. This will reduce the need for taking tissue from preserved specimens while providing better quality molecular samples.

Benefits to Institutions:

Universities and Institutes

Zoos and Aquaria

Museums

  • Increased access to unique or rare samples via our searchable online database, samples, which would otherwise be difficult/costly/impossible to access.
  • Support for auditing and sorting in the form of standard operating procedures, training, joint volunteer programmes and site visits to provide relevant advice.
  • Facility to house or back up your collection if you choose to transfer it to one of our hubs, either at the Natural History Museum in London or at the National Museums Scotland.
  • Capacity to make your collection accessible by uploading the associated data to the CryoArks online database, which will be completely searchable and enable researchers to request to use samples. All requests will be scrutinised by a panel before access is given.
  • Get advice on sampling, sample storage, importation and permitting.
  • Access to Infrastructure and facilities for zoos and aquaria who are not able to curate their own tissue sample collections.
  • Get advice and access to optimal storage conditions for DNA preservation, capacity for sample data archive, enhanced visibility and access to a wide range of samples from captive and wild populations.
  • Increased access to samples and their genetic data, which will help to improve management of ex-situ and in-situ populations, ensuring their optimal genetic composition for future population and species survival.
  • Improved access to comprehensive sample sets necessary for the development of DNA-based conservation genetic management tools.
  • Tissue samples taken from dead animals can be stored with reference to the preserved skin and skeleton, maximising the amount of morphological metadata that surrounds a sample.
  • Captive animal samples can help inform a broader spectrum of zoological and wildlife research, enhancing the contribution of zoological institutions to understanding and preserving global biodiversity.
  • Experienced repositories store and curate increasing collections of wildlife samples and metadata, ensuring the DNA quality is optimally preserved for future research and management applications.
  • Collection protocols and guidance on cryopreservation can all be found on our website and should you need any further information our staff are available to advise.
  • If you are collecting in the field and wish to provide duplicates to back up your samples and/or enhance research opportunities on that taxon by making them available; you can deposit your samples to be held at one of our hubs.
  • Refer researchers who are interested in genetic research to the biobank as they may be able to access samples which may broaden or enhance current/future projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to find out more about sample storage, sample donations, sample and data ownership, sample access, sample use and sample documentation? We have assembled answers to some of the most common questions we receive.

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