Article | Open Access | Published:

The UK10K project identifies rare variants in health and disease

Nature volume 526, pages 8290 (01 October 2015) | Download Citation

This article has been updated


The contribution of rare and low-frequency variants to human traits is largely unexplored. Here we describe insights from sequencing whole genomes (low read depth, 7×) or exomes (high read depth, 80×) of nearly 10,000 individuals from population-based and disease collections. In extensively phenotyped cohorts we characterize over 24 million novel sequence variants, generate a highly accurate imputation reference panel and identify novel alleles associated with levels of triglycerides (APOB), adiponectin (ADIPOQ) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLR and RGAG1) from single-marker and rare variant aggregation tests. We describe population structure and functional annotation of rare and low-frequency variants, use the data to estimate the benefits of sequencing for association studies, and summarize lessons from disease-specific collections. Finally, we make available an extensive resource, including individual-level genetic and phenotypic data and web-based tools to facilitate the exploration of association results.


Assessment of the contribution of rare genetic variation to many human traits is still largely incomplete. In common and complex diseases, a lack of empirical data has to date hampered the systematic assessment of the contribution of rare and low-frequency genetic variants (defined throughout this paper as minor allele frequency (MAF) <1% and 1–5%, respectively). Rare variants are incompletely represented in genome-wide association (GWA) studies1 and custom genotyping arrays2,3, and impute poorly with current reference panels. Rare and low-frequency variants also tend to be population- or sample-specific, requiring direct ascertainment through resequencing4,5. Recent exome-wide resequencing studies have begun to explore the contribution of rare coding variants to complex traits6, but comparatively little is known of the non-coding part of the genome where most complex trait-associated loci lie7. At the other end of the human disease spectrum, the widespread application of exome-wide sequencing is accelerating the rate at which genes and variants causal for rare diseases are being identified. Despite this, many Mendelian diseases still lack a genetic diagnosis and the penetrance of apparently disease-causing loci remains inadequately assessed.

The UK10K project was designed to characterize rare and low-frequency variation in the UK population, and study its contribution to a broad spectrum of biomedically relevant quantitative traits and diseases with different predicted genetic architectures. Here we describe the data and initial findings generated by the different arms of the UK10K project. In addition to this paper, UK10K companion papers describe the utility of this resource for imputation8, association discovery for bone mineral density9, thyroid function10 and circulating lipid levels11 and provide access to the study results through novel web tools12.

Study designs in the UK10K project

The UK10K project includes two main project arms (Table 1). The UK10K-cohorts arm aimed to assess the contribution of genome-wide genetic variation to a range of quantitative traits in 3,781 healthy individuals from two intensively studied British cohorts of European ancestry, namely the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)13 and TwinsUK14. A low read depth (average 7×) whole-genome sequencing (WGS) strategy was employed in order to maximize total variation detected for a given total sequence quantity15 while allowing interrogation of noncoding variation. Sixty-four different phenotypes were analysed, including traits of primary clinical relevance in 11 major phenotypic groups (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and blood biochemistry, blood pressure, dynamic measurements of ageing, birth, heart, lung, liver and renal function; Supplementary Table 1). Of these, 31 phenotypes were available in both studies (referred to as ‘core’ and reported in association analyses), 18 were unique to TwinsUK and 15 were unique to ALSPAC.

Table 1: Summary of sample collections and sequencing metrics for the four main studies of the UK10K project

The UK10K-exomes arm aimed to identify causal mutations through high read depth (mean 80× across studies) whole-exome sequencing of approximately 6,000 individuals from three different collections: rare disease, severe obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders. The disorders studied in the UK10K-exomes arm have been shown to have a substantial genetic component at least partially driven by very rare, highly penetrant coding mutations. The rare disease collection includes 125 patients and family members in each of eight rare disease areas (Table 1). Disease types were selected with different degrees of locus heterogeneity, prior evidence for monogenic causation and likely modes of inheritance (for example, dominant or recessive). The obesity collection comprises of samples with severe obesity phenotypes, including approximately 1,000 subjects from the Severe Childhood Onset Obesity Project (SCOOP)16, plus severely obese adults from several population cohorts. The neurodevelopmental collection comprises of 3,000 individuals selected to study two related neuropsychiatric disorders (autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia).

Discovery of 24 million novel genetic variants

In total, 3,781 individuals were successfully whole-genome sequenced in the UK10K-cohorts arm. After conservative quality control filtering (Extended Data Figs 1 and 2 and Supplementary Table 2), the final call set contained over 42M single nucleotide variants (SNVs, 34.2M rare and 2.2M low-frequency), 3.5M insertion/deletion polymorphisms (INDELs; 2,291,553 rare and 415,735 low-frequency) and 18,739 large deletions (median size 3.7 kilobase). Each individual on average contained 3,222,597 SNVs (5,073 private), 705,684 INDELs (295 private) and 215 large deletions (less than 1 private). Of 18,903 analysed protein-coding genes, 576 genes contained at least one homozygous or compound heterozygous variant predicted to result in the loss of function of a protein (LoF, Supplementary Information, 14,516 variants in total). As previously shown5,17, variants predicted to have the greatest phenotypic impact (LoF and missense variants, and variants mapping to conserved regions), were depleted at the common end of the derived allele spectrum (Extended Data Fig. 3). There were 495 homozygous LoF variants, a subset of which associated with phenotypic outliers (Supplementary Table 3).

We assessed sequence data quality by comparison with an exome sequencing data set (WES, 50 × coverage)18 and in 22 pairs of monozygotic twins (Extended Data Fig. 1). The non-reference discordance (NRD, or the fraction of discordant genotypes for non-reference homozygous or heterozygous alleles) was 0.6% for common variants and 3.2% (range 0.1–3.3%; Extended Data Fig. 1) for low-frequency and rare variants. False discovery rates (FDR) were comparable between newly discovered sites and sites previously reported in the 1000 Genomes Project phase 1 (1000GP) data set5.

When compared to two large-scale European sequencing repositories, 1000GP and the Genome of the Netherlands (GoNL, 12 × read depth19), UK10K-cohorts discovered over 24M novel SNVs. Overall, 96.5% of variants with MAF > 1% were shared, reflecting a common reservoir within Europe (Fig. 1 and Extended Data Fig. 2). Conversely, 94.7% of singleton (allele count (AC) = 1) and 55.0% of rare (AC > 1 and MAF < 1%) SNVs were study-specific. In a similar comparison, 64.4% (AC = 1) and 15.8% of variants (AC > 1 and MAF < 1%) found in GoNL were found to be study-specific compared to 1.2% of variants above 1% MAF.

Figure 1: The UK10K-cohorts resource for variation discovery.
Figure 1

Number of SNVs identified in the UK10K-cohorts data set in all autosomal regions in different allele frequency (AF) bins, and percentages that were shared with samples of European ancestry from the 1000 Genomes Project (phase I, EUR n = 379) and/or the Genomes of the Netherlands (GoNL, n = 499) study, or unique to the UK10K-cohorts data set. AF bins were calculated using the UK10K data set, for allele count (AC) = 1, AC = 2, and non-overlapping AF bins for higher AC. All numerical values are in Extended Data Fig. 2.

This deeper characterization of European genetic and haplotype diversity will benefit future studies by creating a novel genotype imputation panel with substantially increased coverage and accuracy compared to the 1000GP reference panel8 (see ref. 9 and the next section for its application). It further informs a detailed empirical assessment of the geographical structure of rare variation in the UK where we detected geographical structure for very rare alleles (AC = 2–7) in Northern and Western UK regions, although this did not show evidence of substantial correlation with variation in phenotype (Box 1).

Box 1: Genetic structure of rare variation within the UK

We used the ALSPAC cohort (from the Bristol region) and a subset of TwinsUK individuals (UK-wide origin) to investigate the spatial structure of rare genetic variants (Supplementary Table 16). We first sought to define the extent to which variants of different MAF were geographically structured. We estimated the excess of allele sharing between pairs of individuals as a function of their physical distance, as compared to expectations under a neutral model (Supplementary Information)46. Rare genetic variants showed excess allele sharing at distances smaller than about 200 km, and reduced sharing for more than about 300 km. There was a steeper geographical cline for doubletons (AC = 2), which decreased with increasing allele counts (3 up to 7, equivalent to a MAF of 0.1–0.3%; a). No corresponding geographical structure was observed for phenotypic variation (b).

We next assessed the extent to which the non-random distribution of rare SNVs could be accounted for by regional differences at the level of 13 main regions within the UK47. Overall, patterns of allele sharing were indicative of a larger degree of genetic homogeneity in Southern and Eastern England compared to individuals of Welsh, Northern, Scottish or Northern Irish origin. Doubletons were the most structured both within and between regions (Wilcoxon rank sum P value <0.05, Extended Data Fig. 8).

Finally, we used “chromosome painting”48 to gain insights into possible demographic events underlying the observed genetic structure. We first estimated the average length of DNA tracts shared between individuals, and used the number of such tracts to identify fine population structure in our data set. The tract length distribution showed weak geographic structure reflecting the rare variant analysis. A fine structure analysis suggested that the identified populations were not strongly geographically defined, indicative of a large degree of movement between regions compared to the samples in the Peoples of the British Isles study45, which were chosen to have all four grandparents born in the same location (Extended Data Fig. 9).

Population structure in UK10K-cohorts.

All ALSPAC (from Bristol), and 1,139 TwinsUK (UK-wide) participants with a complete set of genotype, phenotype and place of birth data.a, Excess of allele sharing as a function of geographical distance, expressed as the proportion of shared alleles between sample pairs for AC from 2 to 7 against their geographical distance. b, Phenotypic sharing, estimated for the 31 core phenotypes as the absolute difference between pairs of individuals, averaged within distance bins, rescaled and plotted against their geographical distance. The four traits with the most extreme structure are highlighted. HOMA-IR, homeostatic model assessment for insulin. c, Geographical decomposition of each population. Populations are shown proportional to size; historically ‘Celtic’ and ‘Briton’ regions are closer to the edges, whereas ‘Anglo-Saxon’ England is more homogeneous and at the centre (see ref. 45). Ridings refers to East and West Ridings, Yorkshire. d, Average length of DNA tracts shared between individuals when clustered by sampling location. The ‘admixture’ index is given in brackets, with one-third corresponding to regions containing completely unadmixed populations and infinity to completely admixed populations. See also Extended Data Fig. 9.

Findings from single-marker association tests

A main aim of the UK10K-cohorts project was to assess associations of low-frequency and rare variants under different analytical strategies (Fig. 2). We used a unified analysis strategy for the parallel evaluation of all quantitative traits (Supplementary Information, Supplementary Table 4). Here we describe results for the 31 core traits shared in ALSPAC and TwinsUK, with other results reported elsewhere12.

Figure 2: Study design for associations tested in the UK10K-cohorts study.
Figure 2

Summary of phenotype–genotype association testing strategies employed in the UK10K-cohorts study.

We first carried out single-marker association tests, as in standard genome-wide association studies of common variants20. Assuming an additive genetic model, we used standard approaches to model relationships between standardised traits, residualized for relevant covariates, and allele dosages of 13,074,236 SNVs, 1,122,542 biallelic INDELs (MAF ≥ 0.1%) and 18,739 large deletions in whole-genome sequenced samples (‘WGS sample’). We further assessed associations in an independent study sample of genome-wide genotyped individuals (‘GWA’ sample) including up to 6,557 ALSPAC and 2,575 TwinsUK participants who were not part of UK10K (actual numbers per trait are given in Supplementary Table 1). In the GWA sample, genotypes were imputed from genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data using the UK10K haplotype reference panel, described in a companion manuscript8. The combined WGS+GWA sample had 80% power to detect associations of SNVs of low-frequency and rare down to MAF 0.5%, for a per-alleles trait change (the regression beta coefficient or Beta) of 1.2 standard deviations or greater (Fig. 3). To combine WGS and GWA data we carried out a fixed effect meta-analysis using the inverse variance method, which showed no evidence of inflation of summary statistics at the traits investigated (GC lambda ≈ 1). We used a conservative stepwise procedure for reporting loci from single-variant analysis (Supplementary Table 5), and we discuss elsewhere replication and technical validation of associations of rare variants not supported in the combined WGS+GWA sample (Supplementary Information, Supplementary Table 6).

Figure 3: Summary of association results across the UK10K-cohorts study.
Figure 3

Allelic spectrum for single-marker association results for independent variants identified in the single-variant analysis (Supplementary Table 5). A variant’s effect (absolute value of Beta, expressed in standard deviation units) is given as a function of minor allele frequency (MAF, x axis). Error bars are proportional to the standard error of the beta, variants identifying known loci are dark blue and variants identifying novel signals replicated in independent studies are coloured in light blue. The red and orange lines indicate 80% power at experiment-wide significance level (t-test; P value ≤4.62 × 10−10) for the maximum theoretical sample size for the WGS sample and WGS+GWA, respectively.

Overall, across the 31 traits 27 independent loci reached our experiment-wide significance threshold21 P value ≤ 4.62 × 10−10 in the combined WGS+GWA sample (Fig. 3 and Supplementary Table 5). Two associations have been newly discovered by this project, and were conditionally independent of other variants previously reported at the same loci. The first was a low-frequency intronic variant in ADIPOQ associated with decreased adiponectin levels (rs74577862-A, effect allele frequency (EAF) = 2.6%, P value = 3.04 × 10−64). The second was a rare splice variant (rs138326449) in APOC3 described in advance of this manuscript11,22,23. The remaining 25 loci reaching experiment-wide significance in the combined WGS+GWA sample included common, low-frequency and rare variants tagging known associations with adiponectin levels (CDH13 and ADIPOQ), lipid traits (APOB, APOC3-APOA1, APOE, CETP, LIPC, LPL, PCSK9, SORT1-PSRC1-CELSR2), C-reactive protein (LEPR), haemoglobin levels (HFE) and fasting glycaemic traits (G6PC2-ABCB11, Supplementary Table 5). In contrast to previous projections24, from this analysis of a wide range of biomedical traits there was no evidence of low-frequency alleles with large effects upon traits (Fig. 3)25, with classical lipid alleles identifying extremes of single-variant genetic contributions for these traits. This suggests that few, if any, low-frequency variants with stronger effects than those we see are likely to be detected in the general European population for the wide range of traits that we considered.

Increasing sample size may identify additional moderate effect variants, or variants with rarer frequency. We therefore sought to assess the extent to which the more accurate imputation offered by the UK10K reference panel, applied to larger study samples, could discover additional associations. A restricted maximum likelihood (REML)26 analysis suggested that using the UK10K data could increase the estimated variance explained, compared to the sparser HapMap2, HapMap3 and 1000GP data sets (Extended Data Table 1). We tested four lipid traits (high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides) in up to 22,082 additional samples from 14 cohorts imputed to the combined UK10K+1000GP phase I panel (Supplementary Table 7).

This effort identified two novel associations with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (Fig. 3, Supplementary Table 8), which we further replicated in an independent imputation data set of 15,586 samples from 8 cohorts and through genotyping in 95,067 samples from the Copenhagen General Population Study (CGPS27). The first was a rare intronic variant in LDLR (rs72658867-A, c.2140 + 5G > A; EAF = 0.01, combined sample P value = 1.27 × 10−46); per allele effect Beta (s.e.m.) = −0.23 mmol l−1 (0.02), P value = 7.63 × 10−30 (CGPS, n = 95,079). The second was a common, X-linked variant near RGAG1 (rs5985471-T, EAF = 0.403, P value = 1.53 × 10−12); per allele effect Beta (s.e.m.) = −0.02 mmol l−1 (0.004), P value = 1.8 × 10−5 (CGPS, n = 93,639). The LDLR variant was previously classified to be of uncertain impact in ClinVar, and reported to have no effect on plasma cholesterol levels in a small sample of familial hypercholesterolaemia patients28. The LDLR-A allele is almost perfectly imputed in our sample (info = 0.96), but absent in previous imputation panels29; the RGAG1-T allele is common but was missed in previous studies, which focused predominantly on autosomal variation29. Within CGPS, these variants were weakly associated with ischaemic heart disease (odds ratio (OR) = 0.77(0.66, 0.92), P = 0.003 for rs72658867; 0.96(0.94, 0.99), P = 0.005 for rs5985471) and rs72658867 with myocardial infarction (OR = 0.65(0.49, 0.87), P = 0.003; Supplementary Table 8). These results demonstrate the value of our expanded haplotype reference panel for discovery of trait associations driven by low-frequency and rare variants, as also shown in refs 9, 10.

Findings from rare variant association tests

Single-marker association tests are typically underpowered for rare variants30. Many questions remain regarding the optimal choice of test, owing to the unknown allelic architecture of rare variant contribution to traits, in particular outside protein-coding regions. We first evaluated associations by considering genes (GENCODE v15) as functional units of analysis using three separate variant selection strategies. Naive tests considered all variants in exons, untranslated regions (UTRs) and essential splice sites, weighted equally. Functional tests considered missense and LoF variants, the latter defined as being predicted to cause essential splice site changes, stop codon gains or frameshifts. For each scenario we applied two separate statistical models with different properties, sequence kernel association tests (SKAT) and burden tests implemented in SKAT and SKAT-O31,32, to rare variants (MAF < 1%).

Overall, there was an excess of test statistics with P values ≤10−4 for functional and loss-of-function tests (Extended Data Figs 4 and 5), with a total of 9, 70 and 196 genes associated with the 31 core traits with the LoF, functional and naive tests, respectively (Supplementary Table 9). A signal driven by loss-of-function variants in the APOB gene (encoding apolipoprotein B) achieved our threshold for experiment-wide significance (P value ≤1.97 × 10−7), in a burden-type test (min P value for TG = 7.02 × 10−9). Overall, 3 singleton LoF variants were responsible for this signal, of which two were not previously reported (rs141422999 and Chr2:21260958). Examples of novel rare variants in complex trait-associated loci (for example, G6PC2 associated with fasting glucose) were also seen for genes reaching suggestive levels of association (P value ≤10−4). Lastly, we tested the value of a genome-wide naive approach to explore associations outside protein-coding genes by combining variants across 1.8 million genome-wide tiled windows of 3 kb in size (median 37 SNVs per window, MAF < 1%, assigning an equal weight to all variants in the window). Overall association statistics appeared underpowered to detect true signals, apart from an association signal for adiponectin driven by a known rare intronic variant at the CDH13 locus (rs12051272, EAF = 0.09%, P value = 6.52 × 10−12; Supplementary Table 10)33,34. As previously shown for single-variant tests, in this study adiponectin and lipid traits yielded the greatest evidence for associations for region-based tests.

Informing studies of low-frequency and rare variants

The UK10K-cohorts data allow an empirical evaluation of the relative importance of increasing sample size, genotyping accuracy or variant coverage for increasing power of genetic discoveries across the allele frequency spectrum. In a companion paper8 we show that common variants are exhaustively and accurately imputed using current haplotype reference panels, so increasing sample size is likely to be the single most beneficial approach for discovering novel loci driven by common variants. We further show that the UK10K haplotype reference panel, with tenfold more European samples compared to 1000GP, yields substantial improvements in imputation accuracy and coverage for low-frequency and rare variants. To obtain realistic estimates of the power benefit due to imputation with 1000GP+UK10K compared to 1000GP alone, we averaged the smallest value of Beta (the magnitude of a per-allele effect measured in standard deviations) detectable at 80% power, across variants imputable from both reference panels on chromosome 20. Fig. 4a shows sizable reductions in the magnitude of the effect sizes that can be identified at any sample size through use of the UK10K reference panel, compared to the 1000GP panel alone. For instance, for a variant of MAF = 0.3% we have equivalent power when imputing from UK10K+1000GP into a 3,621 sample as we have when using the 1000GP imputation panel alone with 10,000 samples.

Figure 4: Power for single-variant and region-based tests.
Figure 4

a, Strength of single-variant associations detectable at 80% power as a function of MAF and sample size. Using data from chromosome 208, we calculated the smallest value of the strength of association Beta (measured in standard deviations), that would be detectable under a linear dosage model, given the MAF and r2 of each variant imputable from both the 1000GP and the UK10K+1000GP reference panels, for various sample sizes, n. The averages of these minimum detectable beta values by MAF and sample size are shown. b, Power of region-based tests in the UK10K-cohorts sample. Evaluations assume n = 3,621, α = 6.7 × 10−8 and that the proportion of causal variants in the regions is either 5% or 20%, for maximum association (Max Beta) in a region = 2, 3, 4 s.d. c, Power of region-based tests and the impact of genotype imputation. Ten regions of 30 variants were randomly sampled from each autosome, and then genotype errors were randomly added to the data following observed r2 values between genotypes from data imputed from different sources (WGS, high depth WES, GWAS imputed against 1000GP, GWAS imputed against the combined reference panel of 1000GP and UK10K; Supplementary Table 11), and matching the MAF of each variant using the same parameters as in b, with the proportion of causal variants in the regions set to 20%.

Similar, although weaker, increases in power were seen for region-based tests of rare variants. Using the WGS autosome data from UK10K, we used simulation to introduce genotype errors into 220 randomly selected regions of 30 variants each. For each variant, errors were simulated to match the MAF and the observed r2 values between imputation and sequencing, and between whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing (Supplementary Table 11). We modified the SKAT power calculator35 to estimate power both for the true genotypes in a region and the data containing error, and averaged results across the 220 regions (see Supplementary Information). Although absolute power in Fig. 4b is generally poor, we can also see demonstrable power improvements when data are better imputed or are directly sequenced (Fig. 4c).

Tests involving non-coding rare variants may further benefit from aggregation strategies driven by biological annotation that takes into consideration the context- and trait-specific impact of non-coding variation36,37,38. Exploiting the denser sequence ascertainment of the UK10K-cohorts, we developed a robust approach to quantify fold-enrichment statistics for different categories of non-coding variants compared to null sets matched for minor allele frequency, local linkage disequilibrium and gene density (Supplementary Information). We used this approach to assess the relative contribution of low-frequency and common variants to associations with five exemplar lipid measures (the study did not have sufficient signal for rarer variants). We considered twelve different functional annotation domains, five in or near protein-coding regions and seven main chromatin segmentation states, defined using data from a cell line informative for lipid traits (HepG2; Supplementary Table 12). Low-frequency variants in exonic regions displayed the strongest degree of enrichment (25-fold, compared to fivefold for common variants, Fig. 5), compatible with the effect of purifying selection39. Importantly, however, we showed nearly as strong levels of functional enrichment at both sets of variants for several non-coding domains (10- to 20-fold for transcription start sites, DNase I hotspots and 3′ UTRs of genes), confirming the important contribution of non-coding low-frequency alleles to phenotypic trait variance.

Figure 5: Enrichment of single-marker associations by functional annotation in the UK10K-cohorts study.
Figure 5

Distribution of fold enrichment statistics for single-variant associations of low-frequency (MAF 1–5%) and common (MAF ≥ 5%) SNVs in near-genic elements or selected chromatin states and DNase I hotspots (DHS). Boxplots represent distributions of fold enrichment statistics estimated across the five (out of 31 core) traits where at least 10 independent SNVs were associated with the trait at 10−7 P value (permutation test) threshold (HDL, LDL, TC, APOA1 and APOB). Chromatin state and DHS regions were inferred from ENCODE data in a liver cell line, HepG2, which is informative for lipids. Promoter and 5′ UTR are not shown, but corresponding statistics are given in Supplementary Table 12.

Findings from the exome arm of UK10K

In the UK10K-exomes arm studies (see Supplementary Table 13), 5,182 individuals passed sequencing quality control with an average read depth of 80× in the bait regions. We analysed variation discovered in 3,463 disease-affected, unrelated, European-ancestry samples (Supplementary Information). We discovered 842,646 SNVs (of which 1.6% were multiallelic) and 6,067 INDELs. Both variant types were dominated by very rare variants, with more than 60% observed in only one individual. (Extended Data Fig. 6). When compared to European-American samples from the NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project (ESP)39, we found near-complete overlap at sites with MAF ≥ 1%: 99% of SNVs that are well covered by both projects and pass quality control are present in both data sets. By contrast, 72% of well-covered SNVs seen only once or twice in UK10K are present in ESP. To inform the functional annotation of these variants, we used the Illumina Body Map to determine if the frequency of LoF and functional variants changed when transcripts are selected based on their expression level (Extended Data Fig. 7). When only consequences from highly expressed transcripts and especially those highly expressed in all the Body Map tissues were considered, LoF and functional changes declined. This demonstrates that the choice of transcript can affect the consequence and this should be taken into account when annotating patient exomes.

The rare disease collection studied 1,000 exomes, or 125 from each of eight rare diseases. Thus far, 25 novel genetic causes have been identified for five of the eight diseases: ciliopathies (n = 14), neuromuscular disorders (n = 7), eye malformations (n = 2), congenital heart defects (n = 1) and intellectual disability (n = 1; Supplementary Table 14). Notably, there was marked variation in our ability to identify causal variants based on familial recurrence risk, with the primary factors appearing to be: (1) the proportion of patients with a monogenic cause, (2) the strength of prior information about the mode of inheritance (for example, dominant, recessive), and (3) the extent of prior knowledge of the relevant functional pathways. In contrast with our success identifying single-diagnostic variants in these rare diseases, our analysis of three complex diseases (obesity, autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia) on their own did not yield replicating disease-associated loci. This is perhaps unsurprising given expected locus and allelic heterogeneity, and modest sample size40. We therefore engaged in a collaborative meta-analysis as part of the Autism Sequencing Consortium41 which identified 13 associated genes (FDR < 0.01), many of which have been previously shown to cause intellectual disability or developmental disorders. This suggests that rare variation in single genes can have a large role causing a subset of autism spectrum disorder, but these effects only become apparent when large numbers of individuals are studied.

We also used the UK10K-exomes sequence data to explore the occurrence of incidental findings. We focused on disease-specific genes identified in current guidelines for the analysis of exome/whole-genome data by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG)42, and used objective criteria described in the Supplementary Information. We identified a total of 29 distinct reportable variants affecting a total of 2.3% of the UK10K cases considered in this analysis (42 out of 1,805 individuals), a number similar to previous estimates (2% estimate in adults of European ancestry43). The incidental findings were predominantly associated with cardiovascular disorders (Supplementary Table 15).

Two main challenges of reporting incidental findings from whole-exome surveys emerge. The need for clinical expertise, the difficulty of interpreting a fraction of variants, and the lack of completeness of the ClinVar database44 all highlighted the need to further consolidate knowledge from the community into freely accessible and more exhaustive databases. Furthermore, for some disorders, the frequency of carriers is likely to be too high compared to the disease frequency, despite our strict assessment criteria. This suggests that reported estimates of the penetrance of recognized variants for specific disorders are too high. Given these challenges, we suggest that, in the absence of additional evidence, scientific publications describing proposed penetrant associations for rare variants need to be complemented by accurate estimates of population frequencies.


In summary we have generated a high-quality whole-genome sequence data repository including 24 million novel variants from nearly 4,000 European-ancestry individuals. We showed that the UK10K haplotype reference panel greatly increases accuracy and coverage of low-frequency and rare variants compared to existing panels such as the 1000GP phase 1 panel. We carried out a large-scale empirical exploration of association testing of common, low-frequency and rare genetic variants with a large variety of biomedically important quantitative traits. For each of the different association scenarios tested, we report first examples of novel alleles associated with lipid and adiponectin traits. This provides proof-of-principle evidence on the value of the large-scale sequencing data for complex traits, while also indicating that there are few low-frequency large effect ‘quick wins’ that make substantial contributions to population trait variation and that can be discovered from sequencing studies of few thousands individuals. Our power calculations, informed by the sequence data, provide realistic estimates of the benefit of sequencing versus imputation in future association studies. Finally, rare variation tests showed limited evidence for confounding owing to population stratification at the traits investigated, likely to be due to a weakening of historical patterns of population structure in the current general UK population45.

Overall, this effort has given us both new genomic tools12 and insights into the role of low-frequency and rare variation on human complex traits, and will inform strategies for future association studies. Our exploration of non-coding variants supports the need for incorporating functional genome information in association tests of rare variants outside protein-coding regions. Improved study power through larger numbers, and a better understanding of the observed heterogeneity in allelic architecture between different loci, are likely to provide the best route forward to describe the contribution of rare variants to phenotypic variance in health and disease, and for assessing their utility in healthcare.

Change history

  • 30 September 2015

    Four authors (A.Do., A.Mor., D.J.P. and B.H.S.) were added to the ‘Obesity group’ of the consortium, and the Author Contributions section was accordingly updated.


Data deposits

Data access form is available at, raw and processed data files at, imputation panel at, UK10K Genome Browser at, single-marker loci navigator at and dynamic power calculator at All sequence and phenotype data were deposited to the European Genome-Phenome archive (EGA,, with accession numbers EGAD00001000740, EGAD00001000789, EGAD00001000741, EGAD00001000790, EGAD00001000776, EGAD00001000433, EGAD00001000434, EGAD00001000435, EGAD00001000436, EGAD00001000613, EGAD00001000614, EGAD00001000437, EGAD00001000438, EGAD00001000615, EGAD00001000439, EGAD00001000440, EGAD00001000441, EGAD00001000442, EGAD00001000443, EGAD00001000430, EGAD00001000431, EGAD00001000432, EGAD00001000429, EGAD00001000413, EGAD00001000414, EGAD00001000415, EGAD00001000416, EGAD00001000417, EGAD00001000418, EGAD00001000419 and EGAD00001000420. A breakdown of studies is given in Supplementary Table 13. All study participants provided informed consent. Details of REC approvals are given in Supplementary Table 17.


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Download references


This study makes use of data generated by the UK10K Consortium. The Wellcome Trust provided funding for UK10K (WT091310). Additional grant support and acknowledgements can be found in the Supplementary Information.

Author information

Author notes

    • Hugh Gurling


    • Klaudia Walter
    • , Josine L. Min
    • , Jie Huang
    •  & Lucy Crooks

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton CB10 1HH, Cambridge, UK

    • Klaudia Walter
    • , Jie Huang
    • , Lucy Crooks
    • , Yasin Memari
    • , Shane McCarthy
    • , Valentina Iotchkova
    • , Stephan Schiffels
    • , Audrey E. Hendricks
    • , Petr Danecek
    • , James Floyd
    • , Inês Barroso
    • , Matthew E. Hurles
    • , Eleftheria Zeggini
    • , Jeffrey C. Barrett
    • , Richard Durbin
    • , Nicole Soranzo
    • , Senduran Bala
    • , Peter Clapham
    • , Guy Coates
    • , Tony Cox
    • , Allan Daly
    • , Sarah Edkins
    • , Peter Ellis
    • , Paul Flicek
    • , David K. Jackson
    • , Chris Joyce
    • , Thomas Keane
    • , Anja Kolb-Kokocinski
    • , Cordelia Langford
    • , John Maslen
    • , Shane McCarthy (co-chair)
    • , Dawn Muddyman
    • , Michael A. Quail
    • , Jim Stalker (co-chair)
    • , Kim Wong
    • , Lu Chen
    • , Aaron Day-Williams
    • , Thomas Down
    • , Matthias Geihs
    • , Tim Hubbard
    • , Margarida Lopes
    • , Kalliope Panoutsopoulou
    • , Graham R. S. Ritchie
    • , So-Youn Shin
    • , Nicole Soranzo (co-chair)
    • , Lorraine Southam
    • , Ioanna Tachmazidou
    • , James Morris
    • , Aarno Palotie (co-chair)
    • , Olli Pietilainen
    • , Karola Rehnström
    • , Inês Barroso (co-chair)
    • , Gaëlle Marenne
    • , Eleanor Wheeler
    • , Saeed Al Turki
    • , Carl A. Anderson
    • , Keren Carss
    • , Christopher S. Franklin
    • , Matthew E. Hurles (co-chair)
    • , Felicity Payne
    • , Eva Serra
    • , Margriet van Kogelenberg
    • , Parthiban Vijayarangakannan
    • , Eleftheria Zeggini (co-chair)
    • , Karen Kennedy
    • , Carol Smee
    • , Richard Durbin (chair)
    • , Aarno Palotie
    • , Jim Stalker
    •  & Angela Matchan
  2. Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, Long Road, Cambridge CB2 0PT, UK

    • Nicole Soranzo
    • , Lu Chen
    •  & Nicole Soranzo (co-chair)
  3. MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK

    • Josine L. Min
    • , Nicholas J. Timpson
    • , George Davey Smith
    • , David M. Evans
    • , Tom R. Gaunt
    • , John P. Kemp
    • , Kate Northstone
    • , Lavinia Paternoster
    • , Hashem A. Shihab
    • , So-Youn Shin
    • , Beate St Pourcain
    •  & Nicholas J. Timpson (co-chair)
  4. Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Service, Sheffield Childrens’ NHS Foundation Trust, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TH, UK

    • Lucy Crooks
  5. The Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, St Thomas’ Campus, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK

    • John R. B. Perry
    • , J. Brent Richards
    • , Gail Clement
    • , Deborah Hart
    • , Pirro Hysi
    • , Genevieve Lachance
    • , Massimo Mangino
    • , Sarah Metrustry
    • , Alireza Moayyeri
    • , Lydia Quaye
    • , J. Brent Richards (co-chair)
    • , Kerrin S. Small
    • , Timothy D. Spector
    • , Gabriela Surdulescu
    • , Ana M. Valdes
    • , Kirsten Ward
    • , Scott G. Wilson
    •  & Feng Zhang
  6. MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 285, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

    • John R. B. Perry
  7. Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec H3T 1E2, Canada

    • ChangJiang Xu
    • , Rui Li
    • , J. Brent Richards
    • , Celia M. T. Greenwood
    • , Jianping Sun
    • , J. Brent Richards (co-chair)
    • , Hou-Feng Zheng
    •  & Celia M. T. Greenwood (co-chair)
  8. Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A2, Canada

    • ChangJiang Xu
    • , J. Brent Richards
    • , Celia M. T. Greenwood
    • , Jianping Sun
    • , J. Brent Richards (co-chair)
    • , Antonio Ciampi
    •  & Celia M. T. Greenwood (co-chair)
  9. Cardiovascular Genetics, BHF Laboratories, Rayne Building, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University College London, London WC1E 6JJ, UK

    • Marta Futema
    •  & Steve E. Humphries
  10. Schools of Mathematics and Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK

    • Daniel Lawson
  11. European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SD, UK

    • Valentina Iotchkova
    • , Paul Flicek
    • , Ewan Birney
    • , Ian Dunham
    •  & Graham R. S. Ritchie
  12. Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado 80204, USA

    • Audrey E. Hendricks
  13. Department of Medicine, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada

    • Rui Li
    • , J. Brent Richards
    • , J. Brent Richards (co-chair)
    •  & Hou-Feng Zheng
  14. Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada

    • Rui Li
    • , J. Brent Richards
    • , Celia M. T. Greenwood
    • , J. Brent Richards (co-chair)
    • , Hou-Feng Zheng
    •  & Celia M. T. Greenwood (co-chair)
  15. The Genome Centre, John Vane Science Centre, Queen Mary, University of London, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK

    • James Floyd
  16. Departments of Health Sciences and Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

    • Louise V. Wain
    • , María Soler Artigas
    •  & Martin D. Tobin
  17. University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

    • Inês Barroso
    • , Inês Barroso (co-chair)
    • , Elena Bochukova
    • , Rebecca Bounds
    • , I. Sadaf Farooqi (co-chair)
    • , Julia Keogh
    • , Stephen O'Rahilly
    • , Krishna Chatterjee
    • , Victoria Parker
    • , David B. Savage
    • , Nadia Schoenmakers
    • , Robert K. Semple
    •  & I. Sadaf Farooqi
  18. University College London (UCL) Genetics Institute (UGI) Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • Vincent Plagnol
    •  & Vincent Plagnol (chair)
  19. Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1S6, Canada

    • Celia M. T. Greenwood
    •  & Celia M. T. Greenwood (co-chair)
  20. BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China

    • Yuanping Du
    • , Xiaosen Guo
    • , Xueqin Guo
    • , Liren Huang
    • , Yingrui Li
    • , Jieqin Liang
    • , Hong Lin
    • , Jing Tian
    • , Guangbiao Wang
    • , Jun Wang
    • , Yu Wang
    •  & Pingbo Zhang
  21. Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Xiaosen Guo
    •  & Jun Wang
  22. BGI-Europe, London EC2M 4YE, UK

    • Ryan Liu
  23. Princess Al Jawhara Albrahim Center of Excellence in the Research of Hereditary Disorders, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80200, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

    • Jun Wang
  24. Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai long, Taipa, Macau 999078, China

    • Jun Wang
  25. Department of Medicine and State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong

    • Jun Wang
  26. North East Thames Regional Genetics Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London WC1N 3JH, UK

    • Chris Boustred
  27. Medical Genetics, Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo”, 34100 Trieste, Italy

    • Massimiliano Cocca
    •  & Paolo Gasparini
  28. Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, 34100 Trieste, Italy

    • Massimiliano Cocca
    •  & Paolo Gasparini
  29. Bristol Genetic Epidemiology Laboratories, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK

    • Ian N. M. Day
  30. Computational Biology & Genomics, Biogen Idec, 14 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA

    • Aaron Day-Williams
  31. Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Division of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, King's College London School of Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK

    • Thomas Down
    • , Tim Hubbard
    •  & Alexandros Onoufriadis
  32. University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland 4102, Australia

    • David M. Evans
    • , John P. Kemp
    • , Peter M. Visscher
    •  & Jian Yang
  33. Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation, Seattle, Washington 98102, USA

    • Bryan Howie
  34. Human Genetics Research Centre, St George's University of London, London SW17 0RE, UK

    • Yalda Jamshidi
  35. Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA

    • Konrad J. Karczewski
    • , Monkol Lek
    •  & Daniel G. MacArthur
  36. Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA

    • Konrad J. Karczewski
    •  & Daniel G. MacArthur
  37. Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK

    • Margarida Lopes
    • , Jonathan Marchini
    •  & Lorraine Southam
  38. Illumina Cambridge Ltd, Chesterford Research Park, Cambridge CB10 1XL, UK

    • Margarida Lopes
  39. Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, 1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK

    • Jonathan Marchini
  40. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust, London SE1 9RT, UK

    • Massimo Mangino
  41. Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

    • Iain Mathieson
  42. Institute of Health Informatics, Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, University College London (UCL), 5222 Euston Road, London NW1 2DA, UK

    • Alireza Moayyeri
  43. ALSPAC & School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK

    • Susan Ring
  44. School of Oral and Dental Sciences, University of Bristol, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY, UK

    • Beate St Pourcain
  45. School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TU, UK

    • Beate St Pourcain
  46. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester LE3 9QP, UK

    • Martin D. Tobin
  47. Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

    • Peter M. Visscher
    •  & Jian Yang
  48. School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia 6009, Australia

    • Scott G. Wilson
  49. Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia 6009, Australia

    • Scott G. Wilson
  50. Department of Psychiatry, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St James Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8, Ireland

    • Richard Anney
    •  & Louise Gallagher
  51. Division of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Psychiatry, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario N6C 0A7, Canada

    • Muhammad Ayub
  52. Division of Psychiatry, The University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK

    • Douglas Blackwood
    • , Andrew M. McIntosh
    •  & Andrew G. McKechanie
  53. Department of Child Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, 16 De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK

    • Patrick F. Bolton
    •  & Sarah Curran
  54. NIHR BRC for Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and SLaM NHS Trust, King's College London, 16 De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK

    • Patrick F. Bolton
    •  & Gerome Breen
  55. MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF, UK

    • Patrick F. Bolton
    • , Gerome Breen
    • , David A. Collier
    •  & Peter McGuffin
  56. Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Co. Ltd., Erl Wood Manor, Sunninghill Road, Windlesham GU20 6PH, UK

    • David A. Collier
  57. MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics, Institute of Psychological Medicine & Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK

    • Nick Craddock
    • , Peter Holmans
    • , Michael C. O'Donovan
    • , Michael J. Owen (co-chair)
    • , James T. R. Walters
    • , Hywel J. Williams
    •  & Michael J. Owen
  58. University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK

    • Sarah Curran
  59. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Swandean, Arundel Road, Worthing BN13 3EP, UK

    • Sarah Curran
  60. University College London (UCL), UCL Genetics Institute, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • David Curtis
  61. UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA

    • Daniel Geschwind
  62. University College London (UCL), Molecular Psychiatry Laboratory, Division of Psychiatry, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • Hugh Gurling
    • , Andrew McQuillin
    •  & Sally I. Sharp
  63. Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK

    • Irene Lee
    •  & David Skuse
  64. National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki FI-00271, Finland

    • Jouko Lönnqvist
    • , Tiina Paunio
    • , Olli Pietilainen
    •  & Jaana Suvisaari
  65. The Patrick Wild Centre, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK

    • Andrew G. McKechanie
  66. Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland

    • Aarno Palotie (co-chair)
    • , Olli Pietilainen
    •  & Aarno Palotie
  67. Program in Medical and Population Genetics and Genetic Analysis Platform, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02132, USA

    • Aarno Palotie (co-chair)
    •  & Aarno Palotie
  68. Institute of Neuroscience, Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

    • Jeremy R. Parr
  69. University of Helsinki, Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki FI-00014, Finland

    • Tiina Paunio
  70. Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK

    • David St Clair
  71. The Centre for Translational Omics – GOSgene, UCL Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK

    • Hywel J. Williams
  72. Department of Pathology, King Abdulaziz Medical City, P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia

    • Saeed Al Turki
  73. Genetics and Genomic Medicine and Birth Defects Research Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, UK

    • Dinu Antony
    • , Phil Beales
    • , Hannah M. Mitchison
    • , Peter Scambler
    • , Miriam Schmidts
    •  & Richard H. Scott
  74. Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK

    • Jamie Bentham
    • , Shoumo Bhattacharya
    •  & Catherine Cosgrove
  75. Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital, London WC1N 1EH, UK

    • Mattia Calissano
    • , Sebahattin Cirak
    • , A. Reghan Foley
    • , Francesco Muntoni
    • , Elizabeth Stevens
    •  & Tamieka Whyte
  76. Institut für Humangenetik, Uniklinik Köln, Kerpener Strasse 34, 50931 Köln, Germany

    • Sebahattin Cirak
  77. MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK

    • David R. Fitzpatrick (co-chair)
    • , Kathleen A. Williamson
    •  & David R. Fitzpatrick
  78. Academic Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Box 238, Lv 6 Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

    • Detelina Grozeva
    • , F. Lucy Raymond
    • , Nicola Roberts
    • , Olivera Spasic-Boskovic
    • , Crispian Wilson
    •  & Martin Bobrow
  79. Human Genetics Department, Radboudumc and Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS), Geert Grooteplein 25, Nijmegen 6525 HP, The Netherlands

    • Miriam Schmidts
  80. Department of Mathematics, Université de Québec À Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada

    • Karim Oualkacha
  81. HeLEX – Centre for Health, Law and Emerging Technologies, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK

    • Heather Griffin
    • , Jane Kaye (co-chair)
    •  & Jane Kaye
  82. National Cancer Research Institute, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD, UK

    • Karen Kennedy
  83. Genetic Alliance UK, 4D Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP, UK

    • Alastair Kent
  84. Leeds Genetics Laboratory, St James University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

    • Ruth Charlton
    •  & Rachel L. Robinson
  85. University College London (UCL) Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment (GEE), Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • Rosemary Ekong
    •  & Sue Povey
  86. SW Thames Regional Genetics Lab, St George’s University, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK

    • Farrah Khawaja
    •  & Rohan Taylor
  87. Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

    • Luis R. Lopes
    • , Petros Syrris
    •  & Juan Pablo Casas
  88. Cardiovascular Centre of the University of Lisbon, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisbon, Portugal

    • Luis R. Lopes
  89. Department of Medical Sciences, University of Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy

    • Nicola Migone
  90. North West Thames Regional Genetics Service, Kennedy-Galton Centre, Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK

    • Stewart J. Payne
  91. Connective Tissue Disorders Service, Sheffield Diagnostic Genetics Service, Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TH, UK

    • Rebecca C. Pollitt
  92. Molecular Genetics, Viapath at Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT, UK

    • Cheryl K. Ridout
  93. Department of Clinical Genetics, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, WC1N 3JH, UK

    • Richard H. Scott
  94. Clinical Genetics, Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London SE1 9RT, UK

    • Adam Shaw
  95. Maritime Medical Genetics Service, 5850/5980 University Avenue, PO Box 9700, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 6R8, Canada

    • Anthony M. Vandersteen
  96. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK

    • Antoinette Amuzu
    •  & Juan Pablo Casas
  97. The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, St Mary’s campus, Norfolk Place, Paddington, London W2 1PG, UK

    • John C. Chambers
    •  & Weihua Zhang
  98. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, Athens 17671, Greece

    • George Dedoussis
  99. Division of Nephrology and Dialysis, Institute of Internal Medicine, Renal Program, Columbus-Gemelli University Hospital, Catholic University, 00168 Rome, Italy

    • Giovanni Gambaro
  100. Experimental Genetics Division, Sidra, P.O. Box 26999 Doha, Qatar

    • Paolo Gasparini
  101. Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam 3000 CA, Netherlands

    • Aaron Isaacs
    • , Cornelia M. van Duijn
    •  & Elisabeth M. van Leeuwen
  102. Department of Quantitative Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK

    • Jon Johnson
  103. Vth Department of Medicine, Medical Faculty, Mannheim 68167, Germany

    • Marcus E. Kleber
  104. National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London W12 0NN, UK

    • Jaspal S. Kooner
  105. MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

    • Claudia Langenberg
    • , Jian'an Luan
    •  & Robert A. Scott
  106. Biology and Genetics, Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy

    • Giovanni Malerba
  107. Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Graz 8036, Austria

    • Winfried März
  108. Synlab Academy, Synlab Services GmbH, D-68161 Mannheim, Germany

    • Winfried März
  109. Medical Clinic V (Nephrology, Hypertensiology, Rheumatology, Endocrinolgy, Diabetology), Mannheim Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University, Mannheim 68167, Germany

    • Winfried März
  110. School of Social and Community Medicine, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK

    • Richard Morris
  111. Department of Clinical Biochemistry and The Copenhagen General Population Study, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev 2730, Denmark

    • Børge G. Nordestgaard
    • , Marianne Benn
    •  & Anette Varbo
  112. The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen 2200, Denmark

    • Børge G. Nordestgaard
    • , Marianne Benn
    • , Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen
    •  & Anette Varbo
  113. Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan 20132, Italy

    • Daniela Toniolo
    •  & Michela Traglia
  114. Department of Clinical Biochemistry KB3011, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

    • Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen
  115. Population Health Research Institute, St George's University of London, London SW17 0RE, UK

    • Peter Whincup
  116. Renal Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Verona, 37126 Verona, Italy

    • Gianluigi Zaza
  117. Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Wolfson Medical School Building, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK

    • Anna Dominiczak
  118. Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, 9 Little France Road, Edinburgh EH16 4UX, UK

    • Andrew Morris
  119. Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics and Experimental Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK

    • David J. Porteous
  120. Mackenzie Building, Kirsty Semple Way, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD2 4RB, UK

    • Blair H. Smith


  1. The UK10K Consortium

    Writing group

    Production group

    Cohorts group

    Neurodevelopmental disorders group

    Obesity group

    Rare disease group

    Statistics group

    Ethics group

    Incidental findings group

    Management committee

    Lipid meta-analysis group

    The UCLEB Consortium



    Project management: D.M., K.R.; designed individual studies and contributed data: A.A., A.Do., A.G.M., A.I., A.Ma., A.McI., A.McQ., A.Mor., A.O., A.R.F., A.T.H., A.Val., A.Var., B.H.S., B.N., C.B., C.C., C.M.v., C.W., Cl.L., D.A., D.B., D.B.S., D.Co., D.Cu., D.Ge., D.Gr., D.H., D.J.P., D.R.F., D.S.-C., D.S., D.T., E.M.v., E.St., E.Z., F.M., F.Z., G.B., G.Cl., G.D., G.G., G.L., G.Mal., G.S., G.Z., H.Gu., H.M.M., H.W., I.L., I.N.M.D., I.S.F., J.B., J.C., J.C.C., J.H., J.J., J.Keo., J.L.M., J.Lö., J.Lu., J.Mo., J.R.P., J.S.K., J.Suv., J.Wal., K.A.W., K.Ch., K.J.W., K.N., L.G., F.L.R., L.S., M.A., M.Be., M.C.O., M.Ca., M.Co., M.D.T., M.E.K., M.J.O., M.M., M.S., M.T., N.C., N.J.T., N.R., N.Sc., N.So., O.S., P.Be., P.Bo., P.G., P.Ho., P.M., P.Sc., P.W., R.A., R.B., R.K.S., R.M., Ri.S., S.Bh., S.Ci., S.Cu., S.E.H., S.G.W., S.I.S., S.O., S.R., T.D.S., T.G., T.P., T.W., V.I., V.Pa., W.M., UCLEB Consortium†; generated and/or quality controlled sequence data: A.Da., A.K.-K., C.J., Co.L., D.K.J., D.M., F.Z., G.Co., G.W., H.L., J.H., J.Li., J.Mas., J.St., J.Sun., J.T., K.Wo., M.A.Q., P.C., P.D., P.E., P.F., R.D., Ru.L., Ry.L., S.Ba., S.E., S.McC., T.C., T.K., Xi.G., Y.D.; designed new statistical or bioinformatics tools: A.C., A.H., B.H., C.M.T.G., C.X., E.Bi., E.Z., G.R.S.R., H.S., I.D., I.T., J.Mar., K.O., N.So., Ru.L., S.Me., T.D., T.H., V.I.; analysed the data and provided critical interpretation of results: A.D.-W., A.H., A.M.V., A.Moa., A.P., A.S., J.B.R., B.S., C.A., C.M.T.G., C.K.R., C.S.F., C.W., D.E., D.G.M., D.L., E.Bo., E.Se., E.W., E.Z., F.K., F.P., F.Z., G.Mar., G.R.S.R., H.Z., I.B., I.M., I.T., J.C.B., J.F., J.H., J.Kem., J.L.M., J.Mo., J.R.B.P., J.Y., K.Ca., K.P., K.S., K.Wa., K.Wo., L.Ch., L.Cr., L.P., L.Q., L.R.L., L.S., L.V.W., M.Co., M.E.H., M.F., M.G., M.Le., M.S.-A., M.v., N.J.T., N.M., N.So., O.P., P.D., P.Hy., P.M.V., P.Sy., P.V., R.C., R.C.P., R.D., R.E., R.L.R., R.T., Ri.S., S.-Y.S., S.A., S.E.H., S.G.W., S.McC., S.Me., S.P., S.S., T.G., V.I., V.Pl., Y.J., Y.M.; ethics: A.K., C.S., D.M., D.R.F., F.M., H.Gr., J.Ka., K.K., F.L.R., M.Bo., M.E.H., N.J.T., P.Bo., R.D., R.K.S., T.D.S.; designed and/or managed the study: A.P., J.B.R., Co.L., D.M., D.R.F., E.Z., G.D.-S., I.S.F., J.C.B., J.Ka., J.St., K.K., M.E.H., M.J.O., N.J.T., N.So., R.D., S.McC., T.D.S.; wrote the manuscript: A.H., J.B.R., C.M.T.G., C.X., D.L., E.Z., I.B., J.C.B., J.F., J.H., J.L.M., J.R.B.P., K.Wa., L.Cr., M.E.H., M.F., N.J.T., N.So., P.D., R.D., Ru.L., S.E.H., S.McC., S.S., V.I., V.Pl., Y.M.

    Competing interests

    P.F. is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Omicia, Inc.

    Corresponding authors

    Correspondence to Richard Durbin or Nicole Soranzo or Richard Durbin or Richard Durbin or Nicole Soranzo (co-chair) or Richard Durbin or Richard Durbin or Richard Durbin or Richard Durbin or Richard Durbin (chair) or Nicole Soranzo or Nicole Soranzo.

    Extended data

    Supplementary information

    PDF files

    1. 1.

      Supplementary Information

      This file contains Supplementary Text and Data, Supplementary References and Acknowledgements – see contents pages for details.

    2. 2.

      Supplementary Information

      This file contains a full list of authors and affiliations for The UCLEB Consortium.

    Excel files

    1. 1.

      Supplementary Data

      This file contains Supplementary Tables 1-19.

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