Sub-Saharan centralized biorepository for genetic and genomic research

Nagla Gasmelseed, Afrah Awad Elsir, Pasquale DeBlasio, Ida Biunno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quality-assessed biomedical samples are essential for academia- and industry driven research on human diseases. The etiologies and the molecular genetic factors relevant in African diseases, including both infections and complex degenerative diseases as well as cancer, need to be studied using well annotated and well-preserved biosamples acquired from native African ethnic groups and compare the results with non-African populations and/or with Afro-Americans. However, a number of difficulties negatively impact on the possibility to obtain clinically annotated biological samples in most Sub-Saharan African countries. This is mainly due to major organizational problems, lack of clinical centres that can dedicate resources to research, as well as lack of facilities in which biomaterials can be properly processed and safely stored. Harmonization of biosample acquisition, storage phenotyping schemes and biocomputer infrastructures are the principal objectives of biological resource centers (BRCs). BRCs comprise biobanks of different formats (collection of blood, DNA, tissues, etc., annotated with medical, environmental, life-style and follow up data) a fundamental tool for molecular epidemiological studies aiming to increase excellence and efficacy of biomedical results, drug development and public health. BRCs provide large and highly controlled biomolecular resources necessary to meet the "omics" scientific platforms. Sudan may be a candidate nation to host such infrastructure, in view of its strategic geographical position and the already existing simple biobanking experiences connected with research groups in Central Sudan. Here, we describe the potential role of biobanks in African genetic studies aiming to dissect the eziopathogenesis of complex diseases in relation to environmental and life-style factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-213
Number of pages4
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2012


  • Africa
  • Biorepository
  • Molecular epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering


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