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Large Scale Genomics Datasets in the UK


February 27 2020

We previously wrote about the enormous impact that the UK Biobank (UKBB) is having to translational research. Although the scientific outputs from this project are now beginning to stack up — as of February 2020, 1053 scientific papers had been published using the resource — the project was originally established almost 15 years ago, so these are the fruits of many years of labour.

The UKBB took several years of negotiation and planning to set up, followed by a further four years of participant engagement and recruitment, and then additional time for the subsequent data generation. From developing appropriate participant consent processes, to working out how best to make data available to as many groups as possible, there was a great many ethical, regulatory and fiscal challenges in setting up the UKBB. But these set the foundations for additional innovative biomedical research projects in the UK and further afield.
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Genetics is actionable


February 12 2020

In Allelica we’re very excited about the incredible advances that analyses of large DNA datasets are bringing to medicine.

In addition to the increasingly nuanced view of the polygenic complexity of common disease, these studies confirm that your DNA doesn’t, on its own, determine disease.

It’s usually the case that your risk of disease is modulated by a combination of multiple factors including your lifestyle, diet, general health and age. And, of course, genetics also plays a role.

We also know that modulating these non-genetic factors can lead to improvements in lifetime risk of disease.

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Disease is Polygenic


January 23 2020

In the late 19th Century, a Moravian monk named Gregor Mendel passed his time by running experiments cross-breeding different types of pea plant.

Amongst his botanical collection of perennials he had legumes with a variety of physical characteristics. He had short and tall pea plants, pea plants with different coloured flowers, and plants with different types of leaf and pea shape.

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The UK Biobank: unleashing the power of the genome.


January 15 2020

A central goal of preventative medicine is to identify the people most at risk of disease early enough that something can be done. Spotting those at higher risk of getting cancer, for example, means that screening programs can be targeted at this group, allowing the disease to be caught early and dealt with whilst it’s relatively cheap and the cancer is small. As we learn more about the drivers of many diseases, from breast cancer to cardiovascular disease, understanding the combination of factors that contribute to the development of disease will provide information that will help people reduce their risk through lifestyle change and therapeutics.

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