The Medical Genome Reference Bank contains whole genome and phenotype data of 2570 healthy elderly

Mark Pinese, Paul Lacaze, Emma M. Rath, Andrew Stone, Marie Jo Brion, Adam Ameur, Sini Nagpal, Clare Puttick, Shane Husson, Dmitry Degrave, Tina Navin Cristina, Vivian F.S. Kahl, Aaron L. Statham, Robyn L. Woods, John J. McNeil, Moeen Riaz, Margo Barr, Mark R. Nelson, Christopher M. Reid, Anne M. MurrayRaj C. Shah, Rory Wolfe, Joshua R. Atkins, Chantel Fitzsimmons, Heath M. Cairns, Melissa J. Green, Vaughan J. Carr, Mark J. Cowley, Hilda A. Pickett, Paul A. James, Joseph E. Powell, Warren Kaplan, Greg Gibson, Ulf Gyllensten, Murray J. Cairns, Martin McNamara, Marcel E. Dinger, David M. Thomas

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Population health research is increasingly focused on the genetic determinants of healthy ageing, but there is no public resource of whole genome sequences and phenotype data from healthy elderly individuals. Here we describe the first release of the Medical Genome Reference Bank (MGRB), comprising whole genome sequence and phenotype of 2570 elderly Australians depleted for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. We analyse the MGRB for single-nucleotide, indel and structural variation in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. MGRB individuals have fewer disease-associated common and rare germline variants, relative to both cancer cases and the gnomAD and UK Biobank cohorts, consistent with risk depletion. Age-related somatic changes are correlated with grip strength in men, suggesting blood-derived whole genomes may also provide a biologic measure of age-related functional deterioration. The MGRB provides a broadly applicable reference cohort for clinical genetics and genomic association studies, and for understanding the genetics of healthy ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number435
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2020

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