Biodiversity Biobanking Reading List: Latest News From SYNTHESYS+ Project

The Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa (BBSA) provides a coordinating structure across several of South Africa’s biodiversity biobanks. But it’s not just about one (albeit megadiverse) country. As a member of both the Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) and the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), the BBSA is committed to sharing biodiversity biobanking best practices from around the world. 

The SYNTHESYS+ project aims to unify operations and access for European natural science collections. As the volume and diversity of information derived from natural science collections exponentially increase, so does the need for infrastructures that provide access to large volumes of linked and precise data from these collections. SYNTHESYS+ brings an unprecedented number of collections institutions together with the European branches of the global natural science organisations to address this challenge.

Here, we take a look at the latest documents released via the GGBN-led SYNTHESYS+ project, which aims to unify operations and access for European natural science collections. 


The fourth (and last) publication of the GGBN-led SYNTHESYS+ work package NA3: “Molecular collections in the age of genomics – standards & processes” has been released.

Schiller, Wiltschke-Schrotta, Häffner, Buschbom, Leliaert, Zimkus, Dickie, Gomes, Lyal, Mulcahy, Paton, Droege (2024) Permits, contracts and their terms for biodiversity specimens. RIO, 10, e114366. 

This handbook proposes a workflow for the safe exchange of material, in accordance with international treaties, and offers recommendations for molecular collections on how to best navigate legal and administrative procedures.


More SYNTHESYS+ Readings

Other SYNTHESYS+ NA3 publications have been announced previously (all of these are Open Access, as the one above):


Bonus Readings

ISBER has just released the long-awaited and greatly expanded fifth edition of its ISBER Best Practices: Recommendations for Repositories. It is available for (free) download from the ISBER webpage: 

And, finally, for those who are curious about what else the GGBN has been up to over the last year or so, and how the BBSA fits into that, the GGBN end-of-year status report for 2023 has just been released. That’s available for (free) download as well: 


Happy reading…and if you have any other readings for us to share, please don’t hesitate to shout. Just let us know at or Contact Us here, and we’ll share your reading list with the rest of the BBSA community…and all those interested in doing biodiversity biobanking right.


About the Global Genome Biodiversity Network
The Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa (BBSA) is a member of the Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN), an international network of institutions and organisations that share a common interest in long-term preservation of genomic samples of Earth’s biodiversity. The GGBN has over 100 institutional and consortium members, representing nearly 40 countries – including South Africa, where the biobanks of the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa (BBSA) are all GGBN members.

Want to know more about the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa and its relation to the GGBN? Find out here. And for further enquiries about the meeting, the BBSA or related matters, please contact Michelle Hamer at

What are biodiversity biobanks?

Biodiversity biobanks are repositories of biologically relevant resources, including reproductive tissues such as seeds, eggs and sperm, other tissues including blood, DNA extracts, microbial cultures (active and dormant), and environmental samples containing biological communities….