, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 67-77
Date: 21 Nov 2010

LifeGene—a large prospective population-based study of global relevance

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Abstract

Studying gene-environment interactions requires that the amount and quality of the lifestyle data is comparable to what is available for the corresponding genomic data. Sweden has several crucial prerequisites for comprehensive longitudinal biomedical research, such as the personal identity number, the universally available national health care system, continuously updated population and health registries and a scientifically motivated population. LifeGene builds on these strengths to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical applications with particular attention to populations, through a unique design in a research-friendly setting. LifeGene is designed both as a prospective cohort study and an infrastructure with repeated contacts of study participants approximately every 5 years. Index persons aged 18–45 years old will be recruited and invited to include their household members (partner and any children). A comprehensive questionnaire addressing cutting-edge research questions will be administered through the web with short follow-ups annually. Biosamples and physical measurements will also be collected at baseline, and re-administered every 5 years thereafter. Event-based sampling will be a key feature of LifeGene. The household-based design will give the opportunity to involve young couples prior to and during pregnancy, allowing for the first study of children born into cohort with complete pre-and perinatal data from both the mother and father. Questions and sampling schemes will be tailored to the participants’ age and life events. The target of LifeGene is to enrol 500,000 Swedes and follow them longitudinally for at least 20 years.