Population-Based Biobanking


Wolfgang Lieb, Eike A. Strathmann, Christian Röder, Gunnar Jacobs, Karoline I. Gaede, Gesine Richter, Thomas Illig, Michael Krawczak








Population-based biobanking is an essential element of medical research that has grown substantially over the last two decades, and many countries are currently pursuing large national biobanking initiatives. The rise of individual biobanks is paralleled by various networking activities in the field at both the national and international level, such as BBMRI-ERIC in the EU. A significant contribution to population-based biobanking comes from large cohort studies and national repositories, including the United Kingdom Biobank (UKBB), the CONSTANCES project in France, the German National Cohort (NAKO), LifeLines in the Netherlands, FinnGen in Finland, and the All of Us project in the U.S. At the same time, hospital-based biobanking has also gained importance in medical research. We describe some of the scientific questions that can be addressed particularly well by the use of population-based biobanks, including the discovery and calibration of biomarkers and the identification of molecular correlates of health parameters and disease states. Despite the tremendous progress made so far, some major challenges to population-based biobanking still remain, including the need to develop strategies for the long-term sustainability of biobanks, the handling of incidental findings, and the linkage of sample-related and sample-derived data to other relevant resources.