Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Biobank Growth

Scientists were initially skeptical of the UK Biobank, NPR writes, but data from the project has now contributed to numerous scientific publications.

The initiative launched in 2006 when it invited 3,000 individuals from the Manchester area to take part, as GenomeWeb reported. It has since ramped up and now houses genotyping and health data on 500,000 volunteers.

As Rory Collins, the project's principal investigator, tells NPR, interest in the program increased when it received funding to do that genotyping analysis of all participants. That way, researchers without access to such a large cohort could still perform large-scale analyses. UK Biobank data has now been used to, for instance, find that type 1 diabetes, which is generally thought of as a childhood-onset disease, can also crop up among adults, among many other studies.

NPR writes that the biobank's success is breeding even more success, noting that pharmaceutical company Regeneron has teamed up with the project to sequence the genes of all the participants. GenomeWeb reported in 2017 that it and GlaxoSmithKline announced they would be sequencing the UK Biobank cohort in exchange for exclusive access to the data for nine months.