In this article, the first section introduces general considerations on the opinions of patients and the public regarding biobanks. The notion of "public opinion" is briefly described and discussed in a historical perspective. The second section illustrates the results of some surveys carried out in the United States and Europe regarding biobanks. Finally, patients' and citizens' opinions on the storage and use of biological samples are discussed within an ethical framework of principles and values. Four main aspects are discussed: willingness to participate in research; preferences and the perception of norms; language; and opportunities and limits of deliberative democracy in political decisions about biobanking.