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Biopreserv Biobank. 2015 Oct;13(5):311-9. doi: 10.1089/bio.2015.0032.

A Novel Approach to High-Quality Postmortem Tissue Procurement: The GTEx Project.

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1 Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch, Cancer Diagnosis Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) , Bethesda, Maryland.
2 The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard , Cambridge, Massachusetts.
3 Biospecimen Research Group, Clinical Research Directorate, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. , Frederick, Maryland.


The Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project, sponsored by the NIH Common Fund, was established to study the correlation between human genetic variation and tissue-specific gene expression in non-diseased individuals. A significant challenge was the collection of high-quality biospecimens for extensive genomic analyses. Here we describe how a successful infrastructure for biospecimen procurement was developed and implemented by multiple research partners to support the prospective collection, annotation, and distribution of blood, tissues, and cell lines for the GTEx project. Other research projects can follow this model and form beneficial partnerships with rapid autopsy and organ procurement organizations to collect high quality biospecimens and associated clinical data for genomic studies. Biospecimens, clinical and genomic data, and Standard Operating Procedures guiding biospecimen collection for the GTEx project are available to the research community.

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