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Origin stories from a regional placenta tissue collection

Fannin, Maria; Kent, Julie

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Maria Fannin

Julie Kent
Professor in Sociology of Health Techngy


© 2015 The Author(s). 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.


Fannin, M., & Kent, J. (2015). Origin stories from a regional placenta tissue collection. New Genetics and Society, 34(1), 25-51.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 4, 2015
Publication Date Feb 4, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 11, 2016
Journal New Genetics and Society
Print ISSN 1463-6778
Electronic ISSN 1469-9915
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 25-51
Keywords biobank, placenta, human tissue, pregnancy, ALSPAC, Bristol
Public URL
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