The UK Biobank sample handling and storage protocol for the collection, processing and archiving of human blood and urine.

International Journal of Epidemiology
Paul ElliottUK Biobank


UK Biobank is a large prospective study in the UK to investigate the role of genetic factors, environmental exposures and lifestyle in the causes of major diseases of late and middle age. Extensive data and biological samples are being collected from 500,000 participants aged between 40 and 69 years. The biological samples that are collected and how they are processed and stored will have a major impact on the future scientific usefulness of the UK Biobank resource. The aim of the UK Biobank sample handling and storage protocol is to specify methods for the collection and storage of participant samples that give maximum scientific return within the available budget. Processing or storage methods that, as far as can be predicted, will preclude current or future assays have been avoided. The protocol was developed through a review of the literature on sample handling and processing, wide consultation within the academic community and peer review. Protocol development addressed which samples should be collected, how and when they should be processed and how the processed samples should be stored to ensure their long-term integrity. The recommended protocol was extensively tested in a series of validation studies. UK Biobank collec...Continue Reading


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