Human biobanks are collections of samples of human body substances (e.g. tissue, blood, DNA) which are linked to personal data and health-related information about the donors of the material. They play a central role in research on the causes and mechanisms of a large number of illnesses and their treatment and are an indispensable tool for biomedical research. However, biobanks raise ethical and legal questions which extend from the protection of individual rights to the global governance of research infrastructures.