The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children: An international resource for population genomics and lifecourse epidemiology. Core Programme Support 2011-2015 and Core programme support 2014-2019

Lead Research Organisation: The Wellcome Trust Ltd

Abstract

For over 20 years Children of the 90s (or ALSPAC) has charted the health of 14,500 parents and
children. Now in its third decade it has started to study the next generation, the children of the
Children of the 90s. The study is unequalled by other population studies because of the breadth
and depth of information it holds on participants from before birth over 20 years ago through to the
present day. It is internationally renowned and used by researchers worldwide. The data allow
researchers to study key periods of development, how certain conditions develop and change over
time and are passed (or not) from one generation to the next, and how health is affected by the
interplay between genes and other factors like smoking, where people live and the job they do.
Our goals are to ensure the resource remains sustainable and open to researchers to use, and
that participants remain engaged. We will continue to gather information from the original children
through clinical assessments, questionnaires and record linkage, and will be recruiting and
gathering data on the children of the children as well as merging genetic data and enhancing research in the exciting new field of epigenomics.

Technical Summary

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) is a prospective cohort study with
unprecedented scope and detail of information on thousands of people from before birth through
to early adulthood, on their parents and now on their children. It is an internationally valued
resource at the forefront of population-based research. ALSPAC allows the investigation of
developmental trajectories marking critical periods in human life, the genetic and epigenetic
factors contributing to health and disease and the environmental exposures which form the context
within which these processes act. As ALSPAC participants enter adulthood and start having
children, the study's potential to contribute to scientific discovery is expanding, giving a greater
capacity to explore links between current and future health and the intergenerational components
of health and disease. ALSPAC is unequivocally the richest open-access epidemiological resource
in the world. Our goals are to ensure that ALSPAC (i) is sustained, (ii) has participation maximised
and (iii) is enhanced. These goals will be delivered by follow-up of the original cohort through clinic
assessment, questionnaires and record linkage, data collection on their children, consolidation of
GWAS data on all participants and the development of epigenomics research.