CryoArks Biobank Project

CRYOARKS: Establishing a UK-wide zoological biobank

CryoArks is a UK-wide collaboration that aims to create the UK’s first comprehensive zoological biobank for research and conservation. The BBSRC-funded CryoArks initiative is a consortium of museums, zoos, academic institutions and biobanks, led by Professor Mike Bruford (Cardiff University). Project partners include the University of Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, the Natural History Museum, National Museums Scotland and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Together, the partners aim to bring together millions of biological samples held in disconnected collections across zoos, museums and academic collections, into a publicly visible and accessible biobank.

Biobanks are curated collections of biological samples (such as tissue, blood, serum, DNA, gametes and cell lines) that are collected, preserved and maintained along with their associated data, following international standards and guidelines. Biological samples from wild and zoo animals are valuable sources of genetic material and a wealth of information that can support conservation management and help fundamental, biological research.

CryoArks will offer physical storage at partner institutions (at -196°C, -80°C, -40°C and -20°C), an online searchable database, on- or off-site assistance in archiving sample material (if needed), and advice on embedding biobank sample collection during routine museum and field work.

The Natural History Museum, National Museums Scotland and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) are the CryoArks biobank hubs, which are able to hold hundreds of thousands of samples. RZSS is also the UK hub for the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) Biobank. As a EAZA Biobank 'hub', samples collected from zoos and aquaria in the UK and the Middle East are collected and stored there. For more information please visit the EAZA Biobank website:

During the lockdown you can find out more about CryoArks on our website:
Please contact us (, if you would like to find out more about CryoArks, or how to care for your samples or how to transfer them to CryoArks.