Background: The Genome Database of the Latvian Population (LGDB) is a national biobank that collects, maintains, and processes health information, data, and biospecimens collected from representatives of the Latvian population. These specimens serve as a foundation for epidemiological research and prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.
Methods: Participant recruitment and biomaterial and data processing were performed according to specifically designed standard protocols, taking into consideration international quality requirements. Legal and ethical aspects, including broad informed consent and personal data protection, were applied according to legal norms of the Republic of Latvia.
Results: Since its start in 2006, the LGDB is comprised of biosamples and associated phenotypic and clinical information from over 31,504 participants, constituting approximately 1.5% of the Latvian population. The LGDB represents a mixed-design biobank and includes participants from the general population as well as disease-based cohorts. The standard set of biosamples stored in the LGDB consists of DNA, plasma, serum, and white blood cells; in some cohorts, these samples are complemented by cancer biopsies and microbiome and urine samples. The LGDB acts as a core structure for the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (BMC), representing the national node of Latvia in Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure - European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC).
Conclusions: The development of the LGDB has enabled resources for biomedical research and promoted genetic testing in Latvia. Further challenges of the LGDB are the enrichment and harmonization of collected biosamples and data, the follow-up of selected participant groups, and continued networking and participation in collaboration projects.
Keywords: Eastern Europe; biobank; genetic database.