European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 67–77 | Cite as

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

  • Catarina AlmqvistEmail author
  • Hans-Olov Adami
  • Paul W. Franks
  • Leif Groop
  • Erik Ingelsson
  • Juha Kere
  • Lauren Lissner
  • Jan-Eric Litton
  • Markus Maeurer
  • Karl Michaëlsson
  • Juni Palmgren
  • Göran Pershagen
  • Alexander Ploner
  • Patrick F. Sullivan
  • Gunnel Tybring
  • Nancy L. PedersenEmail author


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.


Biobank Cohort study Epidemiology Prospective study Questionnaires Population genetics 



Doubly labelled water


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Genome wide association studies


Influenza-like illness


Polymerase chain reaction


World Health Organisation



The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge all the scientists who have contributed with their time and expertise, without which this study would not have been possible to prepare. Their names and affiliations are listed on the LifeGene website: Start-up funding has been received from Karolinska Institutet, the Stockholm County Council and the Swedish Research Council. Funding has also been obtained from the Torsten and Ragnar Söderbergs Foundation and AFA Försäkringar.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catarina Almqvist
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hans-Olov Adami
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paul W. Franks
    • 4
    • 5
  • Leif Groop
    • 6
  • Erik Ingelsson
    • 1
  • Juha Kere
    • 7
  • Lauren Lissner
    • 8
  • Jan-Eric Litton
    • 1
  • Markus Maeurer
    • 9
    • 10
  • Karl Michaëlsson
    • 11
  • Juni Palmgren
    • 1
    • 12
  • Göran Pershagen
    • 13
  • Alexander Ploner
    • 1
  • Patrick F. Sullivan
    • 14
  • Gunnel Tybring
    • 1
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Astrid Lindgren Children’s HospitalKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Public Health & Clinical Medicine, Section for MedicineUmeå University Hospital SwedenUmeåSweden
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Sciences, Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Skåne University HospitalLund UniversityMalmoSweden
  6. 6.Department of Clinical Sciences, Diabetes and Endocrinology UnitLund UniversityLundSweden
  7. 7.Department of Biosciences and NutritionKarolinska InstitutetHuddingeSweden
  8. 8.Department of Public Health and Community MedicineUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  9. 9.Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology Karolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  10. 10.Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease ControlStockholmSweden
  11. 11.Department of Surgical SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  12. 12.Department of Mathematical StatisticsStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  13. 13.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  14. 14.Department of GeneticsUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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