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Participants needed for study to uncover genetic risk factors for COVID-19 infection outcome

23andMe consumer genetic testing company

Press release issued: 15 May 2020

People who have completed consumer DNA test kits are being asked to take part in a study led by the University of Bristol and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) to find out whether it is possible to predict genetic risk factors and discover a genetic link to coronavirus risk.

The study aims to recruit beyond a target of 2,000 people to an international study that will help scientists to develop new ways of analysing genome data, including new COVID-19 research. By taking part people will learn more about themselves from their DNA.

Participants will be asked to submit their DNA file and a supercomputer will process the information within 24 hours.  After receiving the finished computation, participants will be requested to complete a questionnaire tailored to their own genome.  Once completed, the participants predictions will be revealed.

Julian Gough, Honorary Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol, and computational genomics programme leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said: “We’re really keen to hear from people if they have their own, or a family member's, DNA file from a consumer test such as 23andMe, AncestryDNA or any other source.

“By taking part in the study you’ll be making a valuable contribution to medical research and to our understanding of analysing DNA data, including COVID-19 research and who might be at greater risk of the disease.”

Participation in the study is voluntary and participants will have the right to withdraw at any time. If requested, the research team will remove people’s results from the study and delete any data associated with their participation.

As this is a fully automated computational prediction, only phenotypes from a fixed list of over 6,000 terms can be generated. To access the lists of possible terms, go to the domain-centric Gene Ontology resource (dcGO).

To find out more about the study and how to take part, visit


Further information

For more information about the University of Bristol’s coronavirus (COVID-19) research priorities visit:

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In response to the COVID-19 crisis, researchers at the University of Bristol formed the Bristol COVID Emergency Research (UNCOVER) Group to pool resources, capacities, and research efforts to combat this infection.

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