Making Genomic Collections Discoverable for Research through a Networked Community of Biodiversity Repositories
The Global Genome Biodiversity Network is an international network of institutions that share an interest in long-term preservation of genomic samples representing the diversity of non-human life on Earth. GGBN provides a platform for biodiversity biobanks from across the world to:
- Collaborate to ensure consistent quality standards for DNA and tissue collections,
- Improve best practices for the preservation and use of such collections and
- Harmonize exchange and use of material in accordance with national and international legislation and conventions.
The Global Genome Biodiversity Network provides its members with the primary benefit of making their DNA and tissue collections discoverable for research through a networked community of biodiversity biobanks. In doing so, GGBN provides trusted and transparent access to genomic samples for all, through an access and benefit sharing framework.
- Provide genome-quality samples from across the Tree of Life for research, training, and development, thereby contributing to the conservation of global genetic diversity for generations to come.
- Provide open access to a global data management system hosting the aggregated primary specimen data and associated metadata for all member institutions.
- Develop common standards for sharing DNA and tissues information.
- Develop best practices related to management and stewardship of genomic samples and their derivatives, including appropriate access and benefit sharing (ABS)regime.
- Encourage targeted sampling and preservation of genomic samples representing a synoptic sample of Life on Earth.
- Recruit partners with different regional and taxonomic focus, to help preserve the global genetic diversity in a concerted effort.
Biodiversity research and conservation is informed by genetic research. Thus it is increasingly important to employ the best standards and practices in the care of genetic collections and to provide access to them using standards that promote research while respecting the owner's rights. As a step towards the development of a global network of biodiversity repositories that would encourage the use of best practices, standards, and accessibility, thirty two representatives from thirteen organizations across Africa, Australia, Europe, North, Central, and South America convened for a two day workshop in Washington D.C. in October 2011. This workshop produced preliminary plans for an international coordinating mechanism for biodiversity biobanks.
In order to guide the transition of GGBN from a concept created in 2011 to a formalized member driven organization, an International Steering Committee of (hereinafter referred to as the interim Executive Committee) was formed. A series of meetings were held and three task forces were established to develop and implement a strategic plan and program of work. The Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) was thereby created. A Memorandum of Cooperation was distributed for signature by members in March 2013. From March 2013 through June 2015 input was gathered from the research and biobanking communities, along with other stakeholders, to develop a draft governance model. A white paper on GGBN was published in January 2014 and an international conference was held in June 2014 to further engage the biodiversity biobanking community.
Since the Network’s conception in 2011, GGBN has grown to include 59 biodiversity biobanks from 24 countries. Seventeen member institutions are contributing data to the GGBN Data Portal and 27 member institutions are working toward this goal.
In order to meet the goals of the Global Genome Biodiversity Network, members require a shared data portal to expose their genomic collections for research. The new version of the GGBN Data Portal has been launched in October 2016 and now works for BioCASe/ABCD and IPT/DarwinCore Archive. The GGBN Data Standard has been published in 2016 and is now fully implemented into the portal.