A Phenomics Australia case study
The Australian Phenome Bank: a national biobank and database aiding the discovery of genetic disease causes and advancing Personalised Medicine.
Phenomics Australia’s Biobanking service provides a database and cryobank of mouse sperm and embryos essential for discovering and distributing disease models in Australia.
The challenge: Ensuring the ongoing availability of mouse strains preserving the investment made in creating and characterising them and creating a global resource of enormous value.
Supported and established by Phenomics Australia (NCRIS) and the NHMRC, the Australian Phenome Bank (APB) is both a physical repository and a database of genetically modified mouse strains used in medical research in Australia. The APB operates as a national infrastructure partnership between ANU and Monash and provides essential banking and distribution of mouse strains in Australia. The services of cryopreservation, storage, reanimation, distribution and importation are streamlined into packages to lower costs and protect research.
The APB maintains the cryo-storage of ~4,000 lines produced over the last two decades and provides continued data curation of new lines being produced and made available across Australia and New Zealand to enhance accessibility, sharing and ensure value to the research community.
The solution: Centralised repositories are essential if the valuable mouse strains and models that have been developed are to be securely preserved and fully exploited.
As identified in the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2021, Australia has many unique and valuable collections that are critical for advancing research discovery, developing new industries, enriching education, connecting communities to nature and science, preserving biological and cultural heritage as well as managing biosecurity and other risks for Australia. These collections include biobanks and research samples among others.
Having a national biobank as the APB safeguards and maximises the value of the enormous investment in creating mouse strains for medical research.
The future: Complementing the Australian Phenome Bank with a searchable Australian Stem Cell Registry.
Advances in new technologies such as AI/ML, digitisation, sample analysis, genomics and transcriptomics are transforming the way these collections can, and are, being used to unlock new research possibilities. Some of those possibilities include informing public health decisions, aiding the discovery of genetic disease causes and advancing personalised medicine among others.
Phenomics Australia’s expansion of the In vitro Genome Engineering and Disease Modelling Service will enable us to offer a more comprehensive and enriched portfolio of sophisticated in vitro and non-animal technologies through the newly established multi-node national service.
Complementing the Australian Phenome Bank with a searchable database of pluripotent cell lines available in Australia, the Australian Stem Cell Registry, linking those cell lines with the laboratories that made them, and assisting researchers understand the provenance of and access to those lines will allow rapid partnerships between researchers interested in specific disease models.