Creating a West African BioResource for Nutritional Genetics and Epigenetics

Lead Research Organisation: London Sch of Hygiene and Trop Medicine


The Nutrition Theme at MRC Unit The Gambia will partner with a broad team of collaborators in Bristol (Bristol University and MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit) to create a new West African BioResource (WABR). The new bioresource will consist of rich nutritional cohorts, databases and the Keneba Biobank constructed over decades of research in the West
Kiang area of rural Gambia. These will be made open access to worldwide collaborators to support novel research methods to better understand the complex relationships between diet, nutritional status and infectious and noncommunicable diseases. The new methodologies will be strongly based on a genes-in-action (alternatively known as recallby-genotype)
paradigm that allows investigators to research the impact of genetic and epigenetic variants on health with
highly efficient studies using small numbers of participants. Based upon the Bristol group's world-leading processes we will conduct a 'clone and adapt' exercise to bring the Gambian bioresource up to the same world standard. This process will be
extended to the biobanks at MRCG Fajara and at our West African Global Health Alliance (WAGHA) partner institute IRESSEF in Dakar. We will also prepare a bioresource toolkit that can be accessed by other institutes with cohorts and biobanks in other LMICs.

Technical Summary

Global open access to research is strongly encouraged as a means to maximise the return on investments for
investigators, participants in medical research and funders. Based on an extraordinarily rich set of nutritional cohorts, databases and the Keneba Biobank we will team up with researchers in Bristol to 'professionalise and externalise' these resources with a special emphasis on driving new collaborations using our genes-in-action (recall-by-genotype) paradigm
that allows highly efficient research on the impact of genetic and epigenetic variants on nutritionally-mediated disease processes. The initial work based around the cohorts led by the Nutrition Theme at MRCG will be extended first to additional biobanks at MRCG Fajara and at IRESSEF Dakar through our the West African Global Health Alliance (WAGHA). We will additionally create a toolbox that can be adapted for uptake by other LMIC institutions.


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Description ALSPAC 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are collaborating with the Bristol ALSPAC team in order to 'clone and adapt' their advanced processes for use in WABR.
Collaborator Contribution The ALSPAC team are advising us on optimising the set up of 'externalising' our West African BioResource to international collaborators.
Impact Work in progress - none yet.
Start Year 2018