Biobanking refers to the process by which samples of bodily fluid or tissue are collected for research use to improve our understanding of health and disease (see ‘Types of biobanking sample ’
). Other information, such as height, weight and questions about things that may have a bearing on health (e.g. family history and lifestyle) may also be recorded at the same time, to provide the context for the samples. Often the samples are kept indefinitely or for several years, depending on the study, so that long term future research can be carried out. The researchers may track the health of the participants by looking at their past and future medical records, but only if people have given them permission to.