Biobanks typically collect biospecimens from humans. There are biobanks that also have non-human specimens, such as animals and plants. For the storage of biospecimens, cryogenic storage units are often available. These facilities may be individual refrigerators or warehouses maintained by hospitals, universities, non-profit organizations, and pharmaceutical companies. Biobanks can be classified based on their design or purpose.
Biobanks with a disease orientation are usually affiliated to a hospital, where samples are taken to represent a range of diseases. Tissue banks are used to store and harvest tissues for transplantation and research. Virtual biobanks allow biospecimens and biomaterials to be able to comply with local regulations. Population banks hold biomaterial, lifestyle, clinical, and environmental data.
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There are many types of biospecimens that you can choose from organ tissue, blood and saliva, urine, skin cells, and any other tissues or fluids removed from your body. The specimens are kept in a suitable condition until they are needed for analysis, testing, or experimentation. A genome-wide association study is the most common test.
The samples have been kept in good condition to prevent any deterioration. They are also protected against accidental and intentional damage. The computer-based system registers the sample. To make it easier to locate the specimen when needed, the physical location of the sample is also recorded.
To protect the anonymity of donors and to allow researchers to see the results, samples are de-identified. In some cases, room temperature storage may be used to save money and avoid freezer failure.