Creating a zoological specimen biobank

11 Jan 2023
Georgina Wynne Hughes
Editorial Assistant

Ziath has donated 2D-barcode scanners, software, and barcoded sample tubes to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to assist them in creating a unique biobank of zoological specimens that will be available to researchers worldwide.

Assembled over the last 40 years, the ZSL collection include samples that have been donated from many diverse sources including tissue biopsies from animals with unusual diseases, zoological objects seized by regulatory authorities and endangered species specimens from various parts of the world. Aware of the value that the impressive collection has for research, staff at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology recognized the need to catalogue, process and store the growing collection to safeguard the integrity of the samples and to open the invaluable resource to researchers.

In charge of this project, Louise Gibson the ZSL biobank manager said “We needed a simple and robust method to store critical DNA and tissue samples from our wide range of specimens that would be easy to store, easy to retrieve and stand the test of time. Following consultation with the sample management specialists at Ziath, we decided to use 2D-barcoded sample tubes that can be stored in racks in a deep freeze. In addition, we will use Ziath’s high performance 2D-barcode scanners and Samples™ software to record and track the locations of the stored samples in a more efficient manner. Some of our samples will require freezing and so we chose a system in which we are confident that the specimen identification labels will not be compromised. We cannot afford the risks of having to destroy samples because labels are unreadable.”

Ms Gibson concluded “The aim of this project is to sift through our vast accumulation of specimens, identify them correctly, catalogue them and make biologically relevant samples available to researchers in other academic institutions worldwide. We feel that these samples hold immense value to researchers of zoonotic diseases which may one day become medically relevant to human health.”

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