Thousands of Scots families to help scientists improve nation's health

Generation Scotland, an ambitious and ground-breaking project looking at the ways genetic and lifestyle factors cause cancer, heart disease and mental illness is launched today, Thursday, 2 February in Edinburgh.

Leading doctors and scientists from the medical schools at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow are driving forward the multi-million pound project, which will follow the health of 50,000 Scots family members over the next generation. The launch of Generation Scotland today, 2 February is the culmination of many years of planning and will keep Scotland at the forefront of healthcare genetics. The project will be conducted in full and close collaboration with the NHS in Scotland. Recruitment will start in Tayside and Glasgow, expanding to the rest of Scotland.

The Scottish Executive and the Scottish Funding Council are funding the project with initial grants of 4.4m and 1.8m respectively.

The scientific partners have begun collecting health and genetic data from Scottish families to build a rich store of material to explore the causes of common diseases. Families are being invited to help the Generation Scotland team explore not only the inherited nature of some diseases, but also look at how lifestyle, diet and environment influence the development of common conditions like heart disease, dementia, cancer and diabetes, amongst others.

The findings will help identify those at high risk of developing genetic conditions, and allow early treatments with new drugs designed to combat such diseases. The genetic information will also help adapt prescription drugs to individual needs.

The first wave of volunteers, recruited through their general practitioners, will form the Scottish Family Health Study the biggest family-based project of its kind in the UK. Researchers aim to recruit people aged 35-55 and their family members. The biological samples and medical information collected will be stored con

Contact: Linda Menzies
University of Edinburgh

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