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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 332:307-310 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps332307

Molecular biorepositories and biomaterials management: enhancing the value of high-throughput molecular methodologies for the natural sciences

D. L. Distel*

Ocean Genome Legacy, 240 County Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938, USA

ABSTRACT: Genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and a rapidly growing list of ‘omic’ methodologies have the capacity to transform our view of biology and ecology by tapping the enormous information content of biomolecules. Although procedurally diverse, these approaches share common elements. All use high-throughput technologies to explore a given class of biomolecules in its totality in a given organism, species or community. All generate large quantities of data from individual and often minute samples. All hold promise to provide new insights into the ontogeny, phylogeny, physiology and ecology of organisms and their communities. However, the full potential of these new technologies is unlikely to be realized unless renewed attention is paid to description, preservation, authentication and distribution of biological source materials: issues that have long been of fundamental concern to traditional biologists but that have received less attention in recent years. This renewed emphasis on biomaterial management will require new methods and new types of biological collections (i.e. molecular biorepositories) specifically designed to address and anticipate the needs of these rapidly evolving technologies. Such biorepositories can help advance the nascent ‘omics revolution’ by allowing researchers to better access and preserve source materials, disseminate research products and data, share ideas, control financial and environmental costs, integrate with traditional methods and knowledge bases, and extract more meaningful data from biological specimens.

KEY WORDS: Genomic conservation · Biobanking · Biological banking · Genome banking · Genome resource repositiory · Biorepository · Biodiversity · Bioinformatics · Archiving

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