What’s the point of a biobank?
In 2010 the UK Biobank Project recruited 500,000 adults aged 40–69 to study for the rest of their lives. Scientists gather blood and urine samples, lifestyle questionnaires and physical measurements in an effort to log what happens to these people and to try and draw links between their health and their genes and lifestyle. People in this age group are being studied because they are at most risk of developing a wide range of important diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia. Similar biobanks are being set up in Estonia, India, Sweden, China, Mexico, Japan, the Gambia, Canada, the USA and Australia.