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Open source biobank tool launched for cash-strapped labs

A collaboration between Africa and Europe has developed free software to help researchers from poorer nations keep track of their biobanking activities.

The tool is one of the outcomes of the Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The African partners are located in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

Alan Christoffels, head of the South African Medical Research Council’s bioinformatics research unit at the University of the Western Cape, said that while laboratory information management systems are available commercially, they mean nothing to researchers who cannot afford to buy expensive licences.

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