Ethics Statement

CryoArks Ethics Statement

The CryoArks Initiative is a collaboration between zoos, aquaria, museums, universities, and research institutes, aiming to create the UK’s first national zoological biobank of animal biological samples. The aim for this biobank is to enhance and link the many diverse and disconnected frozen collections across the UK and facilitate the responsible and sustainable use of these collections for a wide range of applications that will enhance fundamental research and species conservation.

To facilitate access to tissues, cells, and DNA from wild and domestic species, including endangered species and livestock breeds, we have launched a nationwide sampling initiative to expand the existing biological resource. We encourage the consolidation, proper management and sharing of samples for research and conservation, by providing coordination, advice, and assistance.

The partner institutions include Cardiff University, University of Nottingham, University of Edinburgh (Roslin Institute), National Museums Scotland (NMS), Natural History Museum London (NHM) and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), alongside collaborations with the Frozen Ark and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Biobank.

The framework for the ethical conduct of CryoArks and its partners is guided by principles of dignity, respect, honesty, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, and leadership. In order to reach our vision that biological resources are efficiently curated, we disseminate advice that follows the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) and Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) best practice guidelines for the management of biological sample collections.

Organisations and individuals collaborating with the CryoArks Initiative, and engaged in activities to collect biological samples (including DNA) and specimens, are themselves directly responsible for ensuring their compliance with all applicable laws, licences, permissions, permits and regulations (both local and international) relating to the acquisition, transfer, storage, use, destruction and disposal of the biological samples and specimens they collect, and for making available documentary evidence of this compliance.

The CryoArks Initiative will not knowingly accept or store material that has been obtained, collected, exported or imported illegally. Should material that has been seized by the national authorities enter the CryoArks Biobank, it will only do so under appropriate jurisdictional approval. Any samples collected from living animals will only be accepted into CryoArks where there is evidence that sampling was conducted in accordance with relevant legal and ethical requirements. The CryoArks Initiative recognises the importance of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity and expects all activities relating to CryoArks to conform to legal and regulatory requirements deriving from the Protocol.

CryoArks staff taking part in activities to collect molecular samples intended to be submitted to the CryoArks Biobank will do so in compliance with the relevant national and international law, policies, procedures, and ethical requirements.

In order to be environmentally responsible, CryoArks will endeavour to ensure that biological samples and specimens are acquired with minimal possible impact on populations, local habitats, biodiversity and the wider environment, taking account of professional best practice in relevant disciplines. Samples in the biobank will be used to optimum potential to ensure that no sampling effort/specimen/sample goes to waste. We also strive to maintain facilities/activities that are as economical and sustainable as possible.