About GGBN

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A Collaborative Effort to Cryo-preserve and Provide Access to Genomic Samples from Across the Tree of Life

The Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) is a global network of genomic samples from across the Tree of Life, benefiting society through biodiversity research, development and conservation. This network will foster collaborations among repositories of molecular biodiversity in order to ensure quality standards, improve best practices, secure interoperability, and harmonize exchange of material in accordance with national and international legislation and conventions.


  • 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 metadata for all the member institutions.
  • Develop 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).
  • Promote targeted preservation of genomic samples representing a synoptic sample of Life on Earth.
  • Recruit partners with different regional and taxonomic focus, to preserve the global genetic diversity in a concerted effort.

General Information

Biodiversity research and preservation is informed by genetic research. Increasingly, it is 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 biorepositories that would encourage the use of best practices, standards, and accessibility, the Global Genome Initiative convened a workshop with leading biorepositories, biorepository networks, research organizations, and biodiversity information management organizations. The workshop was attended by representatives from organizations in Africa, Australia, Europe and North, Central, and South America. These include: the Alexander von Humboldt Institute; the American Museum of Natural History; the Atlas of Living Australia; the Australian Museum; BioBanking in South Africa; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization; the Consortium for the Barcode of Life; the DNA Bank Network; the Encyclopedia of Life; the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle; the Natural History Museum, London; the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen and the Smithsonian Institution. In light of the challenges that organizations face, and recognizing that a collaborative approach is necessary to preserving the world's biodiversity, the workshop participants agreed to form the Global Genome Biodiversity Network. A steering committee was named to guide the development of the network and three task forces were formed to address data standards, policies and practices, and marketing and outreach.

Data Portal

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. Up to now, the DNA Bank Network is the only portal providing biodiversity tissue and DNA data in a standardized way, offering interoperability with a wide range of Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) compliant data sources. While the setup of the DNA Bank Network is fully functional, the existing framework is limiting for GGBN members, working only with BioCASe/ABCDDNA and DiGIR (if voucher data are available through DarwinCore), and not with DarwinCore Archive. Most GGBN member institutions, however, use DarwinCore Archive to deliver their data to GBIF. The upcoming GGBN Data Portal will build on the existing DNA Bank Network's model and will work for BioCASe/ABCD, IPT/DarwinCore Archive, and DiGIR providers (only voucher specimens in non GGBN collections, not for DNA samples).