Tracing biological collections, or biobanks, is crucial for genetic studies of all diseases, since using larger and larger collections is becoming the gold standard of new genetics study designs. Networking between research teams is essential but also raises numerous ethical issues for the scientists who collect and analyse the samples, as well as for the individuals who take part in clinical trials.
In their publication, scientists from several EU projects, including GA²LEN, propose a new identification system that could be applied to all studies, based on the model of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) which has been used for books for more than forty years. Each study would receive a modular number with a universal structure, to be registered at the time of ethical approval. Such a number could be applied retroactively to existing studies and collections.
The number would have a variable length and would include elements needed to identify the study: a number for the country, a number for the name of the institution acting as custodian to the collection and a number for the collection itself. This system is transparent but also flexible: elements of a study could be identified as well, for example the various surveys in a longitudinal study. Each collection will receive its unique “identity card” that can be referenced in any study using the collection.
The immediate advantages of a universal number would be to accelerate and stimulate exchanges between scientists, and potentially increase the size of data collections which were analysed for a given research question. The reference number would optimise the literature search and reviews. Moreover, it would allow scientists to link studies with their samples, the methods used, the results, and various scientific publications.
Genome Wide Associations (GWA) studies or meta-analyses often include data of large biobanks studies. A universal number would facilitate this process and enable the next step: to find, trace and include data of smaller studies with better characterised phenotypes and environments in the large studies. This could also include studies from other medical disciplines or collections initially gathered to study other diseases. Critical mass would be reached for statistical analysis without losing details of the disease characterisation.
Finally, this simple system could benefit all actors involved in the human biobank. Scientists could be identified in relation to a study and given credit for their methods and results in future studies using their collections Institutes who funded the study and/or who are custodian of the collection could be identified from the numeric identifier. Individuals and patients involved in the study with their informed consent would be given transparent access to the way the collection they contributed to has been used, while anonymity is preserved.
The proposal was discussed within the several EU-funded projects that supported the work, including GA²LEN, the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, Genetic Work Package, and three projects focusing on biobanks and/or genetic databases: PHOEBE, Promoting Harmonization of Epidemiological Biobanks, GEN2PHEN, Genotype-to-Phenotype Databases and newly launched BBMRI, a Pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research infrastructure.
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy