More than 260,000 people have signed up to participate in a project, called Penn Medicine BioBank, agreeing to have their DNA samples stored in secure freezers. By obtaining samples from a wide-cross section of humanity, researchers are able to cross-reference participants’ DNA with their health records and identify genetic variants for a range of diseases.
Penn Medicine BioBank began over a decade ago and has doubled in size since the invitation to participate was incorporated into the electronic check-in process in 2020, which makes Penn’s one of the largest of a dozen similar efforts in the United States.
Unlike most other biobanks in the U.S. and abroad, Penn’s repository has a high percentage of samples from people of color, with nearly one-third from non-European ancestry. In the coming years, the total number of participants in Penn Medicine BioBank is expected to grow even more in the coming years. Read more here.