Comprehensive genomic studies: emerging regulatory, strategic, and quality assurance challenges for biorepositories

Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Jul;138(1):31-41. doi: 10.1309/AJCPXBA69LNSCVMH.


As part of the molecular revolution sweeping medicine, comprehensive genomic studies are adding powerful dimensions to medical research. However, their power exposes new regulatory, strategic, and quality assurance challenges for biorepositories. A key issue is that unlike other research techniques commonly applied to banked specimens, nucleic acid sequencing, if sufficiently extensive, yields data that could identify a patient. This evolving paradigm renders the concepts of anonymized and anonymous specimens increasingly outdated. The challenges for biorepositories in this new era include refined consent processes and wording, selection and use of legacy specimens, quality assurance procedures, institutional documentation, data sharing, and interaction with institutional review boards. Given current trends, biorepositories should consider these issues now, even if they are not currently experiencing sample requests for genomic analysis. We summarize our current experiences and best practices at Washington University Medical School, St Louis, MO, our perceptions of emerging trends, and recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Biological Specimen Banks / standards*
  • Ethics Committees, Research / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Genetic Research / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Genomics / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Genomics / standards*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care