Biobanks are an important resource for medical research. Genetic research on biological material from minors can yield valuable information that can improve our understanding of genetic–environmental interactions and the genesis and development of early onset genetic disorders. The major ethical concerns relating to biobanks concern consent, privacy, confidentiality, commercialisation, and the right to know or not to know. However, research on paediatric data raises specific governance and ethical questions with regard to consent and privacy. We have considered the Italian normative context focusing on what is mentioned in each document on the ethical and legal requirements that guarantee the rights of minors. We found out that there is no systematic reflection on the ethical and policy issues arising from the participation of minors in biobank research. Moreover, we have focused on the same aspects for the new Italian Law on the National Forensic Biobank.
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This work is a contribution to the activities of the European project ‘Assessing Legal and Ethical Aspects of Research Using Human Tissue and Cells’.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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