Many medical disorders of public health importance are complex diseases caused by multiple genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Recent technological advances have made it possible to analyse the genetic variants that predispose to complex diseases. Reliable detection of these variants requires genome-wide association studies in sufficiently large numbers of cases and controls. This approach is often hampered by difficulties in collecting appropriate control samples. The Generation Scotland: Donor DNA Databank (GS:3D) aims to help solve this problem by providing a resource of control DNA and plasma samples accessible for research.
GS:3D participants were recruited from volunteer blood donors attending Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) clinics across Scotland. All participants gave full written consent for GS:3D to take spare blood from their normal donation. Participants also supplied demographic data by completing a short questionnaire.
Over five thousand complete sets of samples, data and consent forms were collected. DNA and plasma were extracted and stored. The data and samples were unlinked from their original SNBTS identifier number. The plasma, DNA and demographic data are available for research. New data obtained from analysis of the resource will be fed back to GS:3D and will be made available to other researchers as appropriate.
Recruitment of blood donors is an efficient and cost-effective way of collecting thousands of control samples. Because the collection is large, subsets of controls can be selected, based on age range, gender, and ethnic or geographic origin. The GS:3D resource should reduce time and expense for investigators who would otherwise have had to recruit their own controls.