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Use of human samples in medical research

Human tissue legislation came into force on 1st September 2006.  The Human Tissue Act 2004 applies in its entirety in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; with one section (on DNA analysis) applying UK wide.  In Scotland, the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006 also applies.  The resources below will help you understand how the law applies across the UK.

Human tissue legislation summaries

Our summaries offer a quick and easy explanation of the UK legislation:

Additional MRC resources

Further information on MRC Policy and the legislation can be found in:

Using samples from colleagues

There are legal and good practice requirements when using samples from colleagues (just as there are for any research participant). Research Ethics Committee (REC) review should be sought and take into consideration how fully informed, freely given consent will be obtained; any feedback of clinically significant findings; and how colleagues’ confidentiality will be protected.  For more see our guidance for staff asked to volunteer blood and/or other samples (PDF, 35KB).

Still have a question?

If you have a specific question about the use of human tissue in research which we haven’t answered here, you can ask us at: rsc@mrc.ukri.org.