How to Register Samples


In order to submit sequencing or analysis data, it is important to first register your biological samples with ENA. Each sample in ENA represents biomaterial that a sequencing library was produced from.


A different sample should be registered for each sample used in the real-life sequencing project. These samples give context to your data so it is important to ensure the metadata associated with them is as extensive and accurate as possible.


To ensure that each sample is registered with at least a minimum amount of metadata, ENA provides “Sample Checklists” which are used during registration to tailor these samples to fit minimum standards for different sample types.

These “Checklists” were developed in collaboration with different research communities to ensure that there is enough information provided for each type of sample that is deposited in ENA to comply with the FAIR data principles (making sure your associated data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). Explore all our sample checklists here.

As a result, when registering a sample, it is important to choose the most relevant sample checklist available to you and provide at least the minimum metadata.


If your sample metadata does not provide enough context for your data to be easily interpreted, you may be requested to update your samples, so it is important to take some time to choose the correct checklist and metadata when you first register your samples.

If you can not find a suitable checklist for your sample data type - please first contact our helpdesk for advice. Please only use the ENA default sample checklist if you have been advised that there are no other suitable options.

If you can not provide a value for a mandatory field within a checklist, please use one of the INDSC accepted terms for missing value reporting.


Please also make sure you are familiar with the ENA’s taxonomy services and use the correct taxonomy to describe your samples.

In particular, consider the environmental taxonomy options available to you when working with environmental samples.


Once the samples are registered, Webin will report two accession numbers for each sample. The first starts with SAMEA and is called the BioSample accession. The samples will also be assigned an alternative accession number that starts with ERS. This accession number is called the ENA sample accession.

Always make a note of any accessions you receive as these are the unique identifiers for each of your submissions to ENA.

Submission Options

Samples can be submitted one of two ways, using the Webin Interactive web interface or programmatically. For an overview of these, please see the General Guide on Submitting to ENA.