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Avera Institute for Human Genetics

3720 W. 69th Street Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Phone: 605-322-3050


It is the mission of the Avera Institute for Human Genetics to investigate how genetics and environment influence the development of human illness and to integrate this information into the treatment and prevention of disease. Biobanking may make it possible to do this.

What Is Biobanking?

Biobanking (or Sample Banking) is the collection and storage of human samples such as saliva, blood, urine, etc. from multiple individuals.

Genetics researchers can extract DNA from the samples with the hopes of understanding the following:

  • why one person gets a disease while another person does not;
  • how environmental influences affect disease;
  • what medications or treatments may or may not prevent or treat the symptoms or occurence of a particular disease.

Understanding the answers to these questions--among others--could serve to improve athe overall health of many people. while working to reduce healthcare costs.

What Is DNA?

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, contains all of a person's genetic information (genes) and is found in the body's cells, including your blood and saliva.

Why Would Researchers Want to Study DNA?

It has been found that genetics plays a role in the cause of many human illnesses. Future studies may help determine how genes influence health and how they affect a person's response to treatment or aid in the development of new ways to treat or cure health problems or disease.

Is Information Kept Private and Confidential?

Yes. Names and other identifiers are removed from samples and replaced with unique code numbers. Only a few of the biobank staff will know how to access the list that associates names with the unique codes. Researchers who study the samples and information will not be able to directly connect a participant's name to the unique code number.

Do Participants Receive Any Genetic Results?

No. DNA and information from many people must be studied before scientists know if the results have significance; therefore, participants in the biobank will not receive information or individual results on tests or research performed on donated samples.

What Are the Benefits to Providing Samples and Information?

Knowledge gained through research may help others in the future. Understanding how genes influence human illness may allow for more accurate diagnosis, the development of better treatments, and possibly the prevention of diseases.