Don’t make genetic data disposable: Best practices for genetic and genomic data archiving

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Deborah M Leigh, Amy Vandergast, Maggie Hunter, Eric Crandall, W. Chris Funk, Collin J Garroway, Sean Hoban, Sara J Oyler-McCance, Christian Rellstab, Gernot Segelbacher, Chloe Schmidt, Ella Vázquez-Domínguez, Ivan Paz-Vinas


In ecology and evolution, genetic and genomic data are commonly collected for a vast array of scientific and applied purposes. Despite mandates for public archiving, such data are typically used only once by the data-generating authors. The repurposing of genetic and genomic datasets remains uncommon because it is often difficult, if not impossible, due to non-standard archiving practices and lack of contextual metadata. But as the new research field of macrogenetics is demonstrating, if genetic data and their metadata were more accessible, they could be reused for many additional purposes, far beyond their initial intended impact. In this review, we outline the main challenges with existing genetic and genomic data archives, factors underlying the challenges, and current best practices for archiving genetic and genomic data. Recognising that this is a longstanding issue due to an absence of formal data management training within the research field of ecology and evolution, we highlight key steps that universities, funding bodies, and scientific publishers could take to ensure timely change towards good data archiving.



Bioinformatics, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Life Sciences


genetics, genomics, data archiving, Best practices, standardisation, ecology, evolution, open data


Published: 2023-09-25 20:29

Last Updated: 2023-09-26 00:29


CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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Data and Code Availability Statement:
Open data/code are not available before publication

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