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Guidelines for Human Biobanks and Genetic Research Databases


The completion of the mapping of the human genome under the Human Genome Project has opened huge potential for research into the ways in which genes relate to human conditions, diseases, capacities, impairments and susceptibilities. These advances in our understanding of genetics and genomics have also lead to the emergence of other "omics" sciences, such as proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics.

Research involving the human genome and resulting applications open up new prospects in improving the health of individuals and of humankind as a whole. The success of such research is dependent on sharing knowledge comprised of data, biological samples and information derived from the analysis of those samples.

The ability to effectively use these vast amounts of knowledge will depend in part on the bringing together of different strands of information and data within resources such as human biobanks and genetic research databases (HBGRDs). Current uses of HBGRDs are already contributing significantly to our understanding of genetic and environmental factors that influence disease risk and treatment.

To serve these research purposes, there are many different types of HBGRDs being established, including cross-sectional, longitudinal, large-scale, disease-specific, or population-based. Such resources will provide platforms for international collaboration on a scale not previously attained. However, establishing such HBGRDs raises numerous challenges.

Source: OECD