National Museums Scotland holds a specialist Biobank facility comprising thousands of frozen tissue samples used by researchers worldwide as sources of DNA.

COVID-19 Update 

We thank you for your patience during our museum site closures. The Biobank team is now able to respond to some limited requests to loan or sample material. Loans may take longer than usual to process under current working conditions. Please contact us on for instruction about how to apply for samples, to discuss/arrange sample transfers, data management questions/requirements, or any other queries.

The Biobank will be closed for the festive period from 18 December – 4 January. During this time we are unable to receive or loan any samples. For further enquiries, please email

Our frozen tissue collection currently contains over 10,000 samples from animal specimens donated to our collections. The genetic material contained in each sample holds a wealth of information that can be used to facilitate fundamental scientific research and support conservation management of endangered species.

We work closely with universities and zoos to preserve specimens and tissue samples for non-commercial research purposes. Samples donated to our Biobank are currently managed as part of the Cryoarks Biobank initiative.



  • Dr Andrew Kitchener
  • Dr Gill Murray-Dickson
  • Dr Vladimir Blagoderov

Donating samples to our Biobank

In donating a sample to our Biobank:

  1. Ownership of the sample is transferred to the National Museums Scotland
  2. Use of the sample will be determined by the National Museums Scotland
  3. The sample data may be made publicly visible.

To donate samples to the Biobank, please contact Dr Gill Murray-Dickson (

To discuss all other vertebrate donations, including whole bodies, please contact Dr Andrew Kitchener (

Requesting samples from the Biobank

Samples may be requested from our Biobank and other CryoArks partners, for destructive sampling and use in non-commercial research.

To request samples, please contact Dr Gill Murray-Dickson (

Please be aware, it is the user’s responsibility to ensure all sample use complies with UK legislation on Access and Benefit Sharing (the Nagoya Protocol).

Please read the information on the Nagoya Protocol here prior to commencing your research.

Supported by

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Institution


CRYOARKS: Establishing a UK-wide zoological biobank

This UK-wide collaboration aims to create the UK’s first comprehensive zoological Biobank for research and conservation. The BBSRC (BBR) funded initiative is a consortium of Museums, Zoos, Academic Institutions and Biobanks.
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