Editors introduction: biobanks as sites of bio-objectification

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JournalLife Sciences, Society and Policy
DatePublished - 21 Feb 2018
Issue number6
Volume14
Number of pages5
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Biobanks and biorepositories have become increasingly important and prevalent since the 1990s as holders and distributors of biological material. They exhibit significant diversity in form and function, from the very small to the very large, from the very specialised to the much more generic, holding collections of diseased and healthy resources, from human, animal and plant, and span private, public and third sectors. They also operate as key mediators in relationships between patients, researchers, regulators and companies as they hold and distribute tissue, data and social credibility. Furthermore, they remain active sites in the mediation of controversy, sometimes causing controversy, sometimes closing controversy. In doing, they become important nodal points of regulatory practice (Douglas et al. 2012; Hansen and Metzler 2012). Their proliferation has resulted in new and dynamic ethical and policy issues in need of critical engagement, some of which are addressed in this thematic issue. A growing literature exists addressing these important issues and opening new ones for inspection. Here we present a set of papers that contribute to this work. The distinctiveness of this thematic issue is the application of a unified theoretical approach.

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