1958 – a suprisingly vintage year for genetics

Stupid cupid 1958



Having reached the time of life where one rarely wishes to be older than you already are, I find myself surprisingly regretful that I wasn’t born in 1958.

Babies born in the England, Scotland and Wales during a particular week in 1958 have been providing throughout the course of their lives “snapshots” of how the whole population grows and changes.   The individuals included in this visionary life-long study, currently led by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, have been uniquely benefiting researchers hoping to understand and improve the health and welfare of people throughout the human lifespan.  Some of the amazing understandings gained from the many varied and ongoing observations of this slice of the population are chronicled in the “Now we are fifty” [pdf] publication produced in 2008.

Now heading towards their 60th anniversary, the‘58ers are continuing to benefit us all. Our research group has recently published on a unique genomic resource, the ICR1000 UK exome series which we are making available to any other researcher that could find it useful.  To make the dataset we performed exome sequencing in DNA samples contributed by 1,000 individuals in the 1958 Birth Cohort study.

We are using the data to better understand the spectrum of genetic variation in the general population.  In turn this allows us to better interpret the relevance of gene variants found in individuals with disease. Other researchers will no doubt find myriad ways to reap knowledge and benefits from this resource.

One of the objectives most of us strive for is to live a useful life.   The individuals who are part of the 1958 Birth Cohort study are, probably without realising it, achieving that goal through their daily existence, to the benefit of us all.


Published work:

The ICR1000 UK exome series: a resource of gene variation in an outbred population

 Authors: Elise Ruark, Márton Münz, Anthony Renwick, Matthew Clarke, Emma Ramsay, Sandra Hanks, Shazia Mahamdallie, Anna Elliott, Sheila Seal, Ann Strydom, Lunter Gerton, Nazneen Rahman

Available at:   http://f1000research.com/articles/4-883/v1