In order to meet the demands of ecological research, reference material and larger sets of DNA samples or population data have to be available for the project partners. This material, data and tools are needed in a standardized way in order to guarantee comparability of research results across Europe.
To provide the necessary resources, common infrastructures and shared equipment have been established in EVOLTREE. The centralized repository centre at PICME (part of the Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH - AIT) deals with resource-management ranging from whole organisms (bacteria, fungi, plant material) to DNA samples of whole genomes (gDNA), organellar and sub-genomic clones and BACs or genes (ESTs) on one hand and associated data on the other. More than 340.000 individual samples are available from the different EVOLTREE partners.
Storing this valuable research material at one site generates high impact in forest ecology research not only in Europe and during the course of the project, but will also serve as reference site internationally, as resources will be continuously available after the end of the project and publicly accessible to researchers outside the NoE on a cost basis. Rules for accessing the material are set up as follows:
- Each year a new subset of ESTs will be publicly available; this can be accessed as micro arrays via www.picme.at/products/arrays after agreement to general access rules
- BACs and libraries are available upon request
- Aliquots of gDNA from reference material are partly accessible to the public
To have access to this material, a short project description has to be submitted to the respective contact for the desired material (further information can be found here).
For reliably managing 340.000 individual samples in up to 4 replicate copies, setting up a centralized repository centre was a major requirement. Therefore a modular -20°C/-80°C automated storage unit with an initial capacity of over 8.000 microtiter plates was installed. With this robotic solution, sample management, (storage, replication and distribution of material upon request) will be an international milestone in Biosample handling.