In the Ruins of Babel: Should Biobank Regulations be Harmonized?

  • Jan Reinert Karlsen
  • Jan Helge Solbakk
  • Roger Strand


The current thrust toward greater integration and harmonization of transnational biobank regulations is analyzed with analogical reference to the Tower of Babel account in The Book of Genesis. Raising the question whether biobank regulations should be harmonized, we distinguish between three types of research biobanks: local, regional, and international biobanks. The question is critically addressed in terms of the social and ethical robustness of such regulations. Our conclusion is that current proposals for integrating and harmonizing research biobanking in an increasingly international and industrial context are not socially and ethically robust. Rather, they amplify the inherent problems arising from this challenging task.


Medical Research Ethic Norwegian Research Council Robust Knowledge Research Biobanking Human Biological Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Reinert Karlsen
    • 1
  • Jan Helge Solbakk
  • Roger Strand
  1. 1.Section for Medical Ethics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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