FHS Research Policies

Policy for the Use of Precious DNA

The goal of the Framingham Heart Study cell line project was to create a renewable resource of DNA to meet the distribution demands of approved genetic research projects.

Background: Starting in 1997, consenting participants had blood collected for the explicit purpose of creating lymphoblast cell lines from which DNA can be isolated.

Current Policy: Requests for DNA samples from any Framingham participant are reviewed by the DNA Committee, including DNA samples from those that have viable lymphoblast cell lines and from those who do not have cell lines.

Unfortunately, there are participants who do not have viable cell lines. Many of these participants have consented to genetic research using their genetic material. DNA exists on these participants from whole blood isolation, but it is non-renewable and considered precious. There are varying amounts of DNA available for these individuals, from 0.1 – 4000 µg. For access to these DNA samples, additional review by the Framingham Genetic Steering Committee (FGSC) and Framingham Executive Committee is required.

General Guidelines for Precious DNA samples:
  1. The FGSC recommends that 10 µg of DNA be set aside for reserve.
  2. Requests for access to precious DNA will only be considered for meritorious research projects that are central to the mission of the Heart Study.
  3. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Applicants are advised to request the minimal amount of DNA required for the project. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to utilize state of art technology and provide the resulting genetic data to dbGaP where it will be available to the general public to ensure the most useful information from this precious resource.
  4. Requests for precious DNA in excess of 5 µg or 10% of the amount of available DNA, whichever is higher (exclusive of the reserve), will need to provide justification for use of the precious resource.

Questions should be directed to Heather Arruda at harruda@bu.edu