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A biorepository is a biological materials repository that collects, processes, stores, and distributes biospecimens to support future scientific investigation Biorepositories can contain or manage specimens from animals, including humans, and many other living organisms. Vertebrates, invertebrates, arthropods, and other life forms are just a few of the many classes of living organisms which can be studied by preserving and storing samples taken.
The purpose of a biorepository is to maintain biological specimens, and associated information, for future use in research. The biorepository assures the quality, and manages the accessibility and distribution/disposition of the biospecimens in its collection.
The four main operations of a biorepository are; (i) collection (ii) processing, (iii) storage or inventory, and (iv) distribution of biological specimens.
(i) Collection or accession is the first operation, whereby samples are recorded as having arrived. Today this is typically performed by scanning the sample barcode with a barcode scanning device. Information about the sample is transferred into the laboratory information management system ("LIMS"). Typical data captured would be the origin of the sample and arrival data / time recording in the LIMS.
(ii) Processing of samples is normally a quality tested process that is performed the same way to each of the samples to minimize variation due to sample handling and prepare the sample for storage. The process is usually one that facilitates long-term storage of a particular sample type - for example DNA samples are processed into a salt buffer (aqueous solution) of proper pH to stabilize the DNA for storage.
(iii) Storage and inventory are where all samples are held prior to being requested via a distribution request. The inventory system is composed of sample holding boxes and the boxes are stored in freezers of various types depending on the sample storage requirements.
(iv) Distribution is the process of retrieving one or more samples from the biorepository inventory system.
- ISBER Newsletter Volume No.1, Issue No. 1
- Specimen Central biorepository list, A worldwide listing of active biobanks and biorepositories
- Clinical Specimens Database and Specimen Collections Repository
- Global Directory of Biobanks, Tissue Banks and Biorepositories
- National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases HIV/AIDS Specimen Repository
- International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories ("ISBER")
- Fisher BIoServices Global Biobanking & Biorepository - Large Biorepository Design
- Cell&Co Biorepository - The first French Eco-Biobank
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