Biorepositories are places that store, process, store and distribute biological samples in order to support scientific research. There are many types of biorepositories. They are classified according to the type of biospecimens they are collecting, their specific function, or the audience they are intended to serve. Biobanks, which are specialized in collecting human biological material, are the most obvious subcategory. They have been a key tool for the research and development of personalized medicine and the advancement of medical science in general.
There are many types of biological specimens conservation facility today including population-based, virtual, disease-centric, and project-driven. Biorepositories that are disease-centric focus on collecting data and specimens on a particular disease such as cancer. Because of the limited resources, patient samples, and research participants for rare diseases, this can prove to be extremely useful.
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Population-based biobanks are designed to collect phenotypic and genomic information from both healthy and sick donors. These biorepositories are a powerful tool for identifying new biomarkers and determining environmental and genetic factors that could contribute to disease development.
A project-driven biorepository is generally accomplished by one researcher and has a lower scope and size. On the other hand, a virtual biobank is an electric repository of tissue samples and related information that are able to be accessed from any location. These virtual biorepositories may contain sample and phenotype data and can be integrated with powerful search engines that enable data to be retrieved across all collections.
No matter what type of biorepository they are, the four main operations that they must perform are the same: