The Avera Institute for Human Genetics' mission includes investigating how genetics and environment influence the development of human illness and then integrating this information into the treatment and prevention of disease. Biobanking helps make this possible.
What is Biobanking?
Biobanking (or sample banking) is the collection and storage of human samples such as saliva, blood, urine, etc. from multiple individuals.
Genetics researchers can extract DNA from the samples with the hopes of understanding:
- Why one person gets a disease while another person does not
- How environmental influences affect disease
- What medications or treatments may or may not prevent or treat the symptoms or occurence of a particular disease
Understanding the answers to these questions could help improve the overall health of many people while reducing healthcare costs.
What is DNA?
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, contains all of a person's genetic information (genes) and is found in the body's cells, including blood and saliva.
Why study DNA?
Genetics plays a role in the cause of many human illnesses. Future studies may help determine how genes influence health and how they affect a person's response to treatment or aid in the development of new ways to treat or cure health problems or disease.
Is information kept private and secure?
Yes. Names and other identifiers are removed from samples and replaced with unique code numbers. Only authorized biobank staff will know how to access the list that associates names with the unique codes. Researchers who study the samples and information will not be able to directly connect a participant's name to the unique code number.
Do participants receive any genetic results?
No. DNA and information from many people must be studied before scientists know if the results have significance; therefore, participants in the biobank will not receive information or individual results on tests or research performed on donated samples.
What are the benefits to providing samples and information?
Knowledge gained through research may help others in the future. Understanding how genes influence human illness may allow for more accurate diagnosis, the development of better treatments and possibly the prevention of diseases.