1. The physical location where collections of genetic material in the form of seeds, tissues or reproductive cells of plants or animals are stored.
2. Field gene bank: A facility established for the ex situ storage and maintenance, using horticultural techniques, of individual plants. Used for species whose seeds are recalcitrant (q.v.), or for clonally propagated species of agricultural importance, such as apple varieties).
3. A collection of cloned DNA fragments from a single genome. Ideally the bank should contain cloned representatives of all the DNA sequences in the genome.
4. A population of micro-organisms, each of which carries a DNA molecule that was inserted into a cloning vector. Ideally, all of the cloned DNA molecules together represent the entire genome of another organism. Also called gene library, clone bank, bank, library. This term is sometimes also used to denote all of the vector molecules, each carrying a piece of the chromosomal DNA of an organism, prior to the insertion of these molecules into a population of host cells.