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ongoing research

During the period from August 2013 to January 2016, we launched a health follow-up program,Conduct a simple health checkup for the participants of the "Children of 1997". The checkup items include pulmonary function test, fat percentage test, collection of biochemical samples (including saliva, urine, hair and nails) and blood sample test, among which the blood test is Used to test fasting blood sugar, blood lipids, liver function, kidney function and complete blood count. We will make statistics and analysis of the collected data for the purpose of studying the causes and development of various chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease), so as to improve public health. We also conducted a questionnaire survey among the participants.

Another important purpose of this follow-up plan is to establish a biochemical sample database (Biobank) for future research purposes.

Biochemical sample database (Biobank)

What is a biobank?

The biological sample database stores a series of biological samples (eg blood, saliva, urine, feces, etc.) for public health research purposes. These biological samples provide important health information, such as genes and gut bacteria, which help us understand the causes of various diseases, so as to make methods to prevent, diagnose and treat different diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, etc.).

Why was the "Children of 1997" Biological Sample Database established?

The "Children of 1997" biological sample database provides important information to help researchers understand the causes of chronic diseases in Hong Kong and Asian population distribution.


What biological samples are collected in the "Children of 1997" Biological Sample Database?

  1. blood (fasting)

  2. stool

  3. saliva

  4. the urine

  5. hair

  6. toenail

When were the biological samples collected? Where are they stored? Where is the "Children of 1997" biological sample database located?

Biological samples were collected in two phases from August 2013 to January 2016 and July to December 2017, and are now stored in the "Children of 1997" biological sample database. The "Children of 1997" Biological Sample Database is located at the Pan-Omics Research Center of the University of Hong Kong.

What do researchers hope to find from biological samples?

The causes of disease remain to be understood, and these biological samples provide different perspectives to explain the changes in non-communicable diseases, such as: the influence of genes, microbiota, metabolomics and even infectious diseases. The "Children of 1997" birth cohort has provided detailed data from birth to the present, including growth status and changes in blood pressure during adolescence. Public health researchers hope to use these data to understand the causes of more diseases and provide stronger evidence for promoting public health. Health policy can help significantly.


Thanks to the support of the Health Research Fund (CFS-HKU1) of the Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, we are now conducting genome-wide association analysis of the collected biological samples, namely the genome-wide association study "GWAS". Genome-wide association studies instrumentally analyze entire arrays of genes or genomes7 to understand differences in groups of genes and identify genetic changes associated with disease6. Most gene-related studies have not focused on Asians, so the above information will make a significant contribution to the existing genome group research.


  1. Mayo Clinic Biobank. Introduction. Available from: [Accessed 29 October 2019]

  2. De Souza YG, Greenspan JS. Biobanking past, present and future: responsibilities and benefits. AIDS (London, England). 2013 Jan 28;27(3):303.

  3. Swiss Biobanking Platform. What is a Biobank?. Available from: -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_[Accessed 29 October 2019]

  4. UK Biobank. About UK Biobank. Available from: [Accessed 1 November 2019]

  5. Hawkins AK. Biobanks: importance, implications and opportunities for genetic counselors. Journal of genetic counseling. 2010 Oct 1;19(5):423-9.

  6. Genetics Home Reference. What are genome-wide association studies?. Available from: [Accessed 7 November 2019]

  7. National Human Genome Research Institute. Genome-Wide Association Studies Fact Sheet. Available from: [Accessed 7 November 2019]

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