Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

NIH Adds Substantial Set of Genetic, Health Information to Online Database

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Researchers will now have access to genetic data linked to medical information on a diverse group of more than 78,000 people.

The data, from one of the nation’s largest and most diverse genomics projects — Genetic Epidemiology Research on Aging (GERA) — have just been made available to qualified researchers through the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), an online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health.

The GERA cohort — average age 63 — was developed collaboratively by Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The addition of the data to dbGaP was made possible with $24.9 million in support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Office of the Director, all at NIH. Catherine Schaefer, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California and Neil Risch, Ph.D., of UCSF are co-principal investigators for GERA.

“Data from this immense and ethnically diverse population will be a tremendous resource for science,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “It offers the opportunity to identify potential genetic risks and influences on a broad range of health conditions, particularly those related to aging.”

The GERA cohort is part of the Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health (RPGEH), which includes more than 430,000 adult members of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California system. Data from this larger cohort include electronic medical records, behavioral and demographic information from surveys, and saliva samples from 200,000 participants obtained with informed consent for genomic and other analyses. The RPGEH database was made possible largely through early support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to accelerate such health research.

“The GERA cohort has the largest number of people — of any age — with data in dbGaP,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “Federal funds were used to develop new approaches to genomics for this project and I’m pleased that the data are now ready in dbGaP for researchers’ use. I look forward to new insights that such a unique resource might offer for better health with age.”

The genetic information in the GERA cohort translates into more than 55 billion bits of genetic data. Using newly developed techniques, the researchers conducted genome-wide scans to rapidly identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genomes of the people in the GERA cohort. These data will form the basis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that can look at hundreds of thousands to millions of SNPs at the same time. The RPGEH then combined the genetic data with information derived from Kaiser Permanente’s comprehensive longitudinal electronic medical records, as well as extensive survey data on participants’ health habits and backgrounds, providing researchers with an unparalleled research resource.

In addition to diseases and conditions traditionally associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoarthritis, researchers can explore the potential genetic underpinnings of a variety of diseases that affect people in adulthood, including depression, insomnia, diabetes, certain eye diseases and many others representing a variety of disease domains. Researchers will also be able to use the database to confirm or disprove other studies that use data from relatively small numbers of people, as well as to increase the size and power of their samples by adding participants from GERA to meta-analyses. The large cohort will also serve as a reference source of controls that researchers can compare to individuals with different conditions that they have studied.

“An exciting aspect of this dataset is that it will be updated and refreshed,” noted Winifred Rossi, deputy director of NIA’s Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology and program officer for the project. “As information is added to the Kaiser-UCSF database, the dbGaP database will also be updated.”

dbGaP was developed and is managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine at NIH. Investigators who are interested in applying for access to this database should follow the procedures on the dbGaP website. 

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Bone Risks Linked to Genetic Variants
A large-scale genomic study uncovered novel genetic variants and led researchers to an unexpected gene that affects bone density and fracture risk.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Genetic Adaptations to Diet and Climate
Researchers found genetic variations in the Inuit of Greenland that reflect adaptations to their specific diet and climate.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
NIH Framework Points The Way Forward For Developing The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director has presented to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a detailed design framework for building a national research participant group, called a cohort, of 1 million or more Americans to expand our knowledge and practice of precision medicine.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Beth Israel Cardiology Team Awarded $3 Million by NIH
Work will help predict outcomes in patients with heart disease.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Diet, Exercise, Smoking Habits and Genes Interact To Affect and Risk
NIH-funded study points to converging factors that drive disease-related inflammation.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Using Genetic Sequencing to Manage Cancer in Children
A team of scientists have investigated the feasibility of incorporating clinical sequencing information into the care of young cancer patients.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Tell-tale Biomarker Detects Early Breast Cancer in NIH-funded Study
The study published online in the issue of Nature Communications.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Neurons’ Broken Machinery Piles Up in ALS
NIH scientists identify a transport defect in a model of familial ALS.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Protein Related to Long Term Traumatic Brain Injury Complications Discovered
NIH-study shows protein found at higher levels in military members who have suffered multiple TBIs.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
NIH Joins Public-Private Partnership to Fund Research on Autism Biomarkers
Biomarkers Consortium project to improve tools for measuring and treating social impairment in children with autism.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
House Votes in Favor of Bill Boosting NIH Funding
The US House of Representatives today overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill that would increase funding to the NIH by about $10 billion, help speed the development of new drugs, and advance precision medicine initiatives.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Linking Targeted Cancer Drugs to Gene Abnormalities
Investigators at the NIH have announced a series of clinical trials that will study drugs or drug combinations that target specific genetic mutations.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Genetic Link For Rare Intestinal Cancer
Researchers recommend screening for people with family history.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Genetics Help Predict Heart Disease Risk, Statin Benefits
Researchers found that a set of genetic variants could identify people at risk for coronary heart disease and who would benefit most from statin therapy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Scientific News
Cell's Waste Disposal System Regulates Body Clock Proteins
New way to identify interacting proteins could identify potential drug targets.
Compound Doubles Up On Cancer Detection
Researchers have found that tagging a pair of markers found almost exclusively on a common brain cancer yields a cancer signal that is both more obvious and more specific to cancer.
Lung Repair and Regeneration Gene Discovered
New role for hedgehog gene offers better understanding of lung disease.
Mixed Up Cell Transportation Key Piece of ALS and Dementia Puzzle
Researchers from the University of Toronto are one step closer to solving this incredibly complex puzzle, offering hope for treatment.
Five New Genetic Variants Linked to Brain Cancer Identified
The biggest ever study of DNA from people with glioma – the most common form of brain cancer – has discovered five new genetic variants associated with the disease.
Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
New Hope for Personalized Treatment of Eczema
Pharmaceutical researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new approach to treat eczema and other inflammatory skin disorders that would use individual tests and advanced science to create personalized treatments based on each person's lipid deficiencies.
Gene Expression: A Snapshot of Stem Cell Development
New genes found that regulate development of stem cells.
Are Changes to Current Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Required?
Editorial suggests more research is needed to pinpoint age to end aggressive screening.
Assessing Cancer Patient Survival and Drug Sensitivity
RNA editing events another way to investigate biomarkers and therapy targets.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos