Dr. Vita Rovite (National Node Director)
The Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (BMC) is the leading scientific institute in molecular biology and biomedicine in Latvia. BMC serves as the main processor of Genome Database of Latvian Population (LGDB), providing infrastructure, personnel resources and scientific experience.
LGDB is a national biobank that gathers, maintains and processes health information data and genetic material collections for the Latvian population. These can be used for research, prophylaxis and therapeutic purposes. In 2016, BMC was admitted as a National Node of BBMRI-ERIC; therefore, the current LGDB activities include the establishment of a national biobank network.
Currently, LGDB has over 30,356 biosamples and the associated phenotypic and clinical information, constituting samples from 1.5 % of the Latvian population. The biosamples stored in LGDB comprise DNA, plasma, serum and white blood cells. Genetic testing and specific biochemical analysis are performed, and the samples are stored at LGDB in specific project-based sample groups. Initially, LGDB was designed to be compatible with the BBMRI framework. Participant recruitment is based on three enrolment segments: disease-oriented, population-based and healthy volunteers.
The collected samples have been used for research in national and international science projects (included in consortia, GWASs, replications), LGDB has served as a resource for the design and validation of several clinically important genetic tests, thus directly interacting with the health care system of the Republic of Latvia. Development directions of LGDB include further active participation in BBMRI-ERIC initiatives, the enrichment and harmonisation of collected biosamples and data, follow-ups with selected participant groups, continued networking, and participation in collaboration projects aiming to remain an open-access research platform.