500,000-genome-strong UK Biobank offers ‘wisdom from crowds’

Test tubes at UK Biobank Image credit: Wellcome Images

Precision medicine aims to improve treatments for individuals, but to do so it needs information from crowds. Only by tracking the health of large numbers of people can the influence of genetics be teased out and incorporated into future tailored treatments. Scientists now report the success of such a project, the UK Biobank, which holds genetic, physical and clinical data from a large cohort of individuals in the United Kingdom.

[T]he UK Biobank is the first project to demonstrate the successful collection and sharing of linked genetic, physical and clinical information on a population scale. All involved should thank the 500,000 volunteers across the United Kingdom who responded to their invitations and agreed to contribute their time, samples and health information.

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Since the UK Biobank opened general access to its database in March 2012, there have been at least 8,294 approved registrations, and 796 formally registered projects are under way. The results of these studies have been communicated in more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and in over 100 preprints on a dedicated bioRxiv channel.

Many of these studies have aggregated UK Biobank data with other data sets to enable studies on a much larger scale, some reaching more than 1 million individuals. That is the future of medicine: wisdom from crowds.

Read full, original post: UK Biobank data on 500,000 people paves way to precision medicine

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