The immense value of UK Biobank as a resource for studying the genetics behind complex traits and diseases is demonstrated for the first time in a genetic study of lung health, published today. With all genotype data from UK Biobank to be made available next year, here Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Leicester Martin Tobin shares his experience and exciting study findings.
UK Biobank is the largest European biobank available to date. Set up in 2006 and part-funded by the MRC, it is a huge resource containing data from 502,682 UK individuals. Participants have provided a range of information about their lifestyles, physical characteristics and health, and they will be followed up for at least 25 years.
We were really excited about the potential value of this data to our research which led us to conduct the first ever genetic association analyses in UK Biobank, the UK Biobank Lung Exome Variant Evaluation (UK BiLEVE) study.
By extracting DNA from participants’ banked blood samples, we analysed the genomes of a subset of UK Biobank participants, 50,008 in total selected according to their measures of lung health and whether or not they smoked. Read more