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More Data to Sort Through

Genetic data from some 78,000 people participating in the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Aging project have just been added to the Genotypes and Phenotypes database at the National Institutes of Health, according to the agency.

The GERA cohort, which has an average age of 63, is a subset of the Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health, an effort by University of California, San Francisco, and Kaiser Permanente researchers to combine genetic, electronic medical record, and survey data as a biomedical research resource. That larger program is collecting data from more than 430,000 members of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Northern California. About 200,000 of those participants also contributed blood or saliva samples for analysis, the San Francisco Business Times notes. NIH estimates that the GERA cohort data includes some "55 billion bits of genetic data."

“Data from this immense and ethnically diverse population will be a tremendous resource for science,” NIH Director Francis Collins says in a statement. “It offers the opportunity to identify potential genetic risks and influences on a broad range of health conditions, particularly those related to aging.”