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

Join For Free

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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ 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

NIH Commits $6.7 M to Advance DNA, RNA Sequencing Technology
"Can you believe they make DNA sequencers the size of staplers?" asked Meni Wanunu, Ph.D. "Ideas that were crazy twenty years ago are now happening!"
Friday, October 07, 2016
Probe Identifies Schizophrenia Genes That Stunt Brain Development
Scientists have isolated schizophrenia-related gene variants that change gene expression in the brain.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
The Genetics of Blood Pressure
Researchers have identifed areas of the genome associated with blood-pressure including 17 previously unknown loci.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns
Researchers tested an alternative way to diagnose bacterial infections in infants—by analyzing RNA biosignatures from a small blood sample.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Genetic Misdiagnoses of Heart Condition
Analysis found several genetic variations previously linked with a heart condition were harmless, leading to condition misdiagnosis.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Public Support for National Study
Survey shows the majority of respondents support or show willingness for national precision medicine study.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
How Parkinson’s Disease Alters Brain Activity Over Time
The NIH study provides a new tool for testing experimental medications aimed at alleviating symptoms and slowing the rate at which the diseases damage the brain.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Schizophrenia, Autism Share Genetic Causes
Monkey brain developmental atlas pinpoints when, where genes activate.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Depression Genetics Insight from Crowd-Sourced Data
Genome sites liked to depression have been discovered from data shared by people who had purchased their genetic profiles online.
Tuesday, August 02, 2016
NIH Funds Precision Medicine
NIH have committed roughly $31M to launch a new program for Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for health disparities research.
Friday, July 29, 2016
NIH Funds Million-Person Medicine Study
NIH announces $55million in awards to build foundations for ambitious Cohort Program that aims to engage 1 million participants in lifestyle, environments and genetics research.
Friday, July 08, 2016
NIH Funds Biobank To Support Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program
$142 million over five years will be awarded to the Mayo Clinic to establish the world’s largest research-cohort biobank for the PMI Cohort Program
Friday, May 27, 2016
Tick Genome Reveals Secrets of a Successful Bloodsucker
NIH-funded study could lead to new tick control methods.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
Monday, February 08, 2016
Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response
An international consortium of scientists has identified a stretch of chromosome that is associated with responsiveness to the mood-stabilizing medication lithium among patients with bipolar disorder.
Monday, February 01, 2016
Scientific News
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Signaling Pathway Could Be Key to Improved Osteoporosis Treatment
Inhibition of SIK2 enzyme both stimulates bone formation and reduces bone breakdown in animal model.
Cocoa Compound Linked to Some Cardiovascular Biomarker Improvements
The study highlights the urgent need for large, long-term RCTs that improve understanding of how the short-term benefits of cocoa flavanol intake on cardiometabolic biomarkers may be translated into clinical outcomes.
New Pathway for COPD Biomarker Development
A study from Philip Morris International has highlighted multi-lipid profiling as a potential new pathway for COPD biomarker development.
Anti-Cancer Drug Uses Tumour mRNA to Identify Responders
Phase I study of novel anti-cancer drug uses tumour mRNA expression to identify patients who will respond to the drug.
Genetic Signature Linked to Cancer Prognosis Identified
The results of the analysis of 8,161 tissue samples could in the future help clinicians decide how best to treat a patient as well as aid the development of new targeted treatments.
NIH Commits $6.7 M to Advance DNA, RNA Sequencing Technology
"Can you believe they make DNA sequencers the size of staplers?" asked Meni Wanunu, Ph.D. "Ideas that were crazy twenty years ago are now happening!"
3D-Printing in Science: Conference Co-Staged with LABVOLUTION
LABVOLUTION 2017 will have an added highlight of a simultaneous conference, "3D-Printing in Science".
Curcumin Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
When delivered at the correct circadian phase, curcumin demonstrates sustained toxicity in cancer cells and should be considered for use in patient care.
"Junk" DNA Critical for Heart Function
Loss of noncoding elements of genome, known as enhancers, results in abnormalities of heart functions.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos