Mitochondrial biogenesis and disease

Lead Research Organisation: The Wellcome Trust Ltd

Abstract

UK Biobank has been set up to allow the reliable assessment of the relevance of a wide range of different types of exposure (including lifestyle, environment and genes) to a wide range of different diseases (including those that cause much morbidity and disability but have not previously been extensively investigated). Recruitment into UK Biobank started in 2007 (following a successful pilot in 2006), and enrolment of 500,000 men and women aged 40 to 69 was achieved by mid-2010. Such prospective cohorts typically involve collection of either a large amount of data on a small number of participants (sometimes referred to as “data depth”) or a small amount of data on a large number of participants (referred to as “data breadth”). By contrast, in UK Biobank, extensive questionnaire data, physical measures and biological samples have been collected for a very large number of participants (i.e. both depth and breadth have been achieved). This outcome was enabled by the establishment of highly efficient, purpose-designed centralised processes with detailed input from UK Biobank’s extensive academic collaborative network. Activity is now focused on following the health of the participants and providing easy access to researchers who wish to use this resource (which is open for applications from end March 2012 through the website: www.ukbiobank.ac.uk).

In order to enhance further the value of the UK Biobank resource to researchers it is proposed that a wide range of biochemical markers are measured in samples collected at baseline from all 500,000 of the participants. The biomarkers selected for assay have been chosen because they are established risk factors for disease (e.g., lipids for vascular disease, sex hormones for cancer), diagnostic measures (e.g., HbA1c for diabetes and rheumatoid factor for arthritis), markers of exposure (e.g., cotinine for tobacco exposure), or characterize phenotypes not otherwise well assessed (e.g., biomarkers for renal and liver function). UK Biobank’s Enhancements Working Group has been responsible for developing the present proposal following extensive consultation with relevant expert to identify biomarkers that are likely to be of most scientific relevance for studying a wide range of diseases. The availability of this wide range of markers for all of the participants would be a cost-effective way of increasing usability of the resource for many different researchers.

Technical Summary

UK Biobank has been set up to allow the reliable assessment of the relevance of a wide range of different types of exposure (including lifestyle, environment and genes) to a wide range of different diseases (including those that cause much morbidity and disability but have not previously been extensively investigated). Recruitment into UK Biobank started in 2007 (following a successful pilot in 2006), and enrolment of 500,000 men and women aged 40 to 69 was achieved by mid-2010. Such prospective cohorts typically involve collection of either a large amount of data on a small number of participants (sometimes referred to as “data depth”) or a small amount of data on a large number of participants (referred to as “data breadth”). By contrast, in UK Biobank, extensive questionnaire data, physical measures and biological samples have been collected for a very large number of participants (i.e. both depth and breadth have been achieved). This outcome was enabled by the establishment of highly efficient, purpose-designed centralised processes with detailed input from UK Biobank’s extensive academic collaborative network. Activity is now focused on following the health of the participants and providing easy access to researchers who wish to use this resource (which is open for applications from end March 2012 through the website: www.ukbiobank.ac.uk).

In order to enhance further the value of the UK Biobank resource to researchers it is proposed that a wide range of biochemical markers are measured in samples collected at baseline from all 500,000 of the participants. The biomarkers selected for assay have been chosen because they are established risk factors for disease (e.g., lipids for vascular disease, sex hormones for cancer), diagnostic measures (e.g., HbA1c for diabetes and rheumatoid factor for arthritis), markers of exposure (e.g., cotinine for tobacco exposure), or characterize phenotypes not otherwise well assessed (e.g., biomarkers for renal and liver function). UK Biobank’s Enhancements Working Group has been responsible for developing the present proposal following extensive consultation with relevant expert to identify biomarkers that are likely to be of most scientific relevance for studying a wide range of diseases. The availability of this wide range of markers for all of the participants would be a cost-effective way of increasing usability of the resource for many different researchers.

Publications

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