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Community Genet. 2006;9(3):184-9.

From hype to mothballs in four years: troubles in the development of large-scale DNA biobanks in Europe.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, City University, London, UK.


This paper analyses the difficulties experienced by three large European DNA biobanks. The first, Icelandic-based deCode, generated immense commercial interest and intense ethical controversy. As a biotechnology company, deCode succeeded, but the Icelandic Health Sector Data Base failed. The second firm, Swedish UmanGenomics, marketed itself as the 'ethical' biotech company. Management problems including the inadequate recognition of intellectual property issues led to the company failing to secure adequate investment. The third and largest, UK Biobank, has, as a non-profit organization, not experienced these problems. But when the product - bio information--is marketed, the issue of ethically acceptable purchasers could well become contentious.

Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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