Taiwan Biobank: a project aiming to aid Taiwan's transition into a biomedical island

Pharmacogenomics. 2008 Feb;9(2):235-46. doi: 10.2217/14622416.9.2.235.


Essentially, the term 'biobank' can be defined in different ways. Taking the UK Biobank's experience as the main example, the Taiwan Biobank aims to collect the DNA of a large group of people on the population base and track their health and lifestyle for at least 10 years. It is hoped that the information collected, regarding the mechanisms underlying how genes and environmental factors interact with each other to make us ill, will benefit the society in various ways, including the exploration of a new generation of treatments, support to preventive medicine discovery and also the possible benefits for the promotion of evolving public health-related industries in Taiwan. However, the involvement of large-scale population base gene data collection also triggered serious ethical, legal and social issues. In Taiwan, the challenge is even more serious than for any other biobanking experiences that have occurred previously. Among all the ethical, legal and social issues, the convergence of aboriginal people protection provided under Taiwan's Constitution imposes on the research team an obligation to create an innovative Ethical & Legal Governance Framework adaptable to the unique social background of Taiwan, including a workable public consultation/communication mechanism. In early 2005, the creation of the 'Taiwan Biobank' has been included as a part of Taiwan's strategic development in promoting the country as an island of biomedicine. In this report, the ideology, the goals and special features, government strategy, visions and, in particular, the ethical, legal and social issue planning of the Taiwan Biobank will be briefly introduced and reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks / economics
  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration*
  • Biomarkers
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Health Care Sector
  • Humans
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers