Motivations and barriers to sharing biological samples: a case study

J Pers Med. 2013 Jun 6;3(2):102-10. doi: 10.3390/jpm3020102.


One of the most significant impediments to the current goals of genomic research is the limited availability of high quality biological samples. Despite efforts to increase both the quality and quantity of samples collected, access to such samples remains limited. This may be due, at least in part, to a general reluctance of biobanking professionals, clinicians, and researchers to share biological specimens with others. Ethnographic methods were used in a biobank setting to explore professionals' perspectives toward and practices of sharing samples. Several motivations and barriers to sharing that may influence research practice were identified. Contrary to existing literature that suggests that professionals are unlikely to share samples with one another, the participants of this study were open to and supportive of sharing samples for research. However, clear communication and effective infrastructure are needed to support the distribution of biobank materials.