Biobanking for Animal Breeding
Streamlining Data Management in Biobanking
Biobanks consist of organized collections of biological material and associated information. Samples and data are stored for one or more research purposes. Collections can include human or nonhuman material such as plants, animals, microbes, or environmental items. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway contains thousands of seeds for essential crops—functioning as a backup for our world’s food supply. This sounds rather dramatic, but other biobanking facilities can be just as impactful. Biobanking is used in personalized medicine, as well as drug discovery and development. It is also found in a variety of clinical settings for prediction, prevention, therapy, and monitoring.
One field of biobanking focuses on animal breeding and genetic testing of samples from animals. These can be agricultural animals such as cattle, pigs, fish; pets such as dogs and horses, and even endangered species. Genetic markers associated with traits of interest (disease or performance related) can provide information for breeders and owners relating to the diagnosis of disease or confirmation of pedigree to determine the best breeding stocks. This knowledge can also help to develop drugs, vaccines, dietary supplements, food type, feeding regimes, etc.
An Informatics Platform for Biobanking
Biobanks are active facilities involving storage, data entry, tracking, and customers. It is essential for a biobank to have a well-organized biological stock of individual samples and associated genetic data. Samples are collected, stored, and potentially sent for testing. Organizations can track large quantities of information related to samples such as donor animal ID, the heritage relation between donor animals, breeder, organization, and storage. Any data returned from testing must be able to be associated with the appropriate samples. Genetic markers associated with traits of interest (disease- or performance-related) can provide information for breeders and owners relating to the diagnosis of disease or confirmation of pedigree.
An informatics platform for biobanks should simplify access to information, and increase efficiency across an organization. The platform should maintain complex data and relationships – allowing for forging of relationships between breeders, owners, animals and their samples and analytical results to genetic traits. Automation should be available for sample accessioning and the platform should have the ability to manage the production of various types of containers and movement of samples between these, with defined layouts in defined locations. Navigation from animals to parents and siblings for comparison of allele data or biomarkers is also of great use for biobanks.
A Scalable, Cloud-Based Platform for Biobanking
The cloud-based Platform for Science (PFS) can be used to capture, manage, and report on all aspects of a biobanking operation. PFS can be configured to match an organization’s specific requirements. A cloud-based solution enables an organization to scale on its timeline to support any size database and its growth. Core’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-hosting option reduced worries about maintenance and updating an on-premises system.
Case Study: Biobanking in Action
Read the case study.