Samples are the raw materials (reagents, blood, tissue, etc.) or processed derivatives of these materials that are analyzed as part of experiments.

A Sample Set is a group of samples accompanied by a suite of properties that describe shared characteristics of all samples in the group.

Uses of Sample Sets

  • A sample set can be included in the description of an experiment as the inputs to a run.
  • A sample set can be used to quickly apply shared properties to a group of samples instead of adding these properties to each sample individually.
  • Samples can be linked with downstream assay results, using a lookup field in the assay design. For details, see Link Assay Data to Sample Sets.
  • The derivation of a sample into aliquots, or samples that are mixtures of multiple parent samples, can be tracked. For details, see Parent Samples: Derivation and Lineage.
  • In a LabKey study, sample sets can be used an alternative to a Specimen Repository. For details see Using Sample Sets as an Alternative to a Specimen Repository.

Samples vs. Specimens

The terms sample and specimen refer to two different methods of tracking the same types of physical materials (such as blood draws or tissue).
  • Specimens. LabKey's specimen infrastructure is tightly woven into the study module, enabling integration of specimen information with other types of study data. The study module also provides a specimen request and tracking system for specimens. However, specimen information imported to LabKey Server must conform to a constrained format with a defined set of fields.
  • Samples. Samples are less constrained than specimens. Administrators can define sample properties and fields tailored to their particular experiments. Sample infrastructure is provided by LabKey's experiment module. It supports tracking the derivation history of these materials but does not support request tracking. Samples are used by LabKey's Flow, MS2 and Microarray modules.

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