UK Biobank 2022

What is UK Biobank?

UK Biobank is a large-scale biomedical database and research resource that is enabling new scientific discoveries to be made that improve public health. The database is regularly augmented with additional data and is globally accessible to approved researchers undertaking vital research into the most common and life-threatening diseases. It is a major contributor to the advancement of modern medicine and treatment and has enabled several scientific discoveries that improve human health.

UK Biobank is a world-leading biomedical database to enable scientific discoveries that improve human health. Our goal is to inspire the imaginations of health researchers around the world to meet the challenge of greater understanding, prevention, and treatment of a range of serious illnesses. UK Biobank has Research Tissue Bank Approval till 2026 and through access to an unmatched amount of biological and medical data on half a million people living in the UK, we can enable your vision of improving human health.

1. UK Biobank is a longitudinal study; it follows the health of 500,000 volunteer participants.

2. Participants were aged between 40-69 years when they joined UK Biobank between 2006-2010.

3. Each participant attended a baseline assessment at a centre in England (89%), Scotland (7%) and Wales (4%).

4. Participants provided their consent for long-term follow-up.

5. Participants answered lots of questions about their health & lifestyle.

6. Participants donated samples of blood, urine and saliva for long-term storage and analysis.

Health records

On joining UK Biobank, participants consented to have their health followed over many years through linkage to their health-related records. UK Biobank has linked to cancer and death registry data, hospital inpatient admissions and primary care records. These data are generally updated annually.  Researchers are helping UK Biobank to develop algorithms to identify common disorders such as stroke, heart disease and dementia.


UK Biobank has received funding from government, charity and industry to extract a range of genetic data from participant samples.

  • Genotyping using Affymetrix microarray
  • Whole Exome Sequencing
  • Whole Genome Sequencing

Accessing the UK Biobank resource

Since 2012, bona fide researchers can apply to access the UK Biobank research resource to conduct health-related research that is in the public interest.  As UK Biobank continues to release additional data relating to our participants (such as data on genetics, imaging and health records) interest in the resource has grown.  UK Biobank welcomes applications from the UK and overseas and from academia and industry.

Final data release from the world’s largest whole exome sequencing project:

UK Biobank has today added the final tranche of exome sequencing data to its research database. This represents completion of cohort-wide exome sequencing for over 470,000 participants within the UK Biobank resource. These de-identified data can now be accessed by approved researchers through the cloud-based UK Biobank Research Analysis Platform. The generation of whole exome sequencing data was made possible through collaboration and funding support from the UK Biobank Exome Sequencing Consortium (UKB-ESC).

The consortium comprises of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Takeda. This unique collaboration has resulted in the largest exome dataset in the world and will be transformative for studying the genetic determinants of disease. Reference: UK Biobank

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