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BBMRI-LPC Biobanks

Estonian Biobank - Cohorts Estonia

Short description of background, aims, hosting institution:

Estonian Biobank is the population-based biobank of the Estonian Genome Center at the University of Tartu (EGCUT). The entire project is conducted according to the Estonian Gene Research Act and all of the participants have signed the broad informed consent (Metspalu 2004, Drug Dev. Res.). The cohort consists of gene donors from 18 years of age and up, which closely reflect the age, sex and geographical distribution of the Estonian population. Estonians represent 83%, 14% Russians and 3% other. All of the subjects are recruited randomly by general practitioners (GP) and physicians in hospitals. A Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) is filled within 1-2 hours at a doctor's office, which includes personal data (place of birth, place(s) of living, nationality etc.), genealogical data (family history spanning four generations), educational and occupational history, lifestyle data (physical activity, dietary habits - FFQ, smoking, alcohol consumption, women's health, quality of life). Medical history and current health status is recorded according to ICD10 codes, medication according to ATC. Extra data are collected from psychiatric patients (MINI and SSP interview). Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and resting heart rate are measured during the visit and blood samples are taken.

Follow-up has started and 10,000 donors will be invited back, more than 1,000 have already been at the study center. In addition, we link our database with the national registries and hospital databases in order to get phenotypic information (end points and nonfatal events).

The Biobank is supported by a biostatistics and bioinformatics unit, technology core, a human genetics lab and an IT development unit.

Main focus of research: links between genes, environmental factors and common diseases (cancer, diabetes, depression, cardio-vascular diseases, etc.).

Approximate number of probands: 51,500 participants.

Follow-up: 10,000 probands.

Types and number of biosamples available: DNA, plasma, white blood cells; ca. 300,000 samples; follow-up: ca. 100,000 samples.


Andres Metspalu MD, PhD
Director, Professor
+372 7375 066
+372 50 63 088

Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu
Phone: +372 7374 000 / Riia 23b, Tartu 51010

Contact for BBMRI-LPC:
Andres Metspalu, see above

Further information:

Estonian Genome Center website


Some information on health outcomes:

BBMRI-LPC Biobanks
c/o Technische Universität München • Institute for Medical Statistics and Epidemiology • Ismaninger Str. 22 • D-81675 München
tel: +49 (0)89-3187-4066 & +49 (0)89-4140-4320 • wichmann[at] & klaus.kuhn[at]
Last modification of this page: 09.02.2015