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Origin stories from a regional placenta tissue collection

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Twenty-three years ago when women and their children were recruited to a longitudinal genetic epidemiological study during pregnancy, placentas were collected at birth. This paper explores the history of a regional placenta biobank and contemporary understandings of its value for the constitution of a research population. We draw on interviews with some of the mothers and those responsible for the establishment and curation of the placenta collection in order to explore the significance and meaning of the collection for them. Given its capacity to stand in for the study cohort of mothers and children, we argue that the material significance of the placenta biobank as a research tool seems far less important than the work it does in constituting a population. The stories about this collection may be understood within the wider context of developments in biobanking and the bioeconomy.
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Keywords: ALSPAC; Bristol; biobank; human tissue; placenta; pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK 2: Centre for Health and Clinical Research, Department of Health & Applied Social Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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