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Lancet. 2003 May 17;361(9370):1734-8.

UK Biobank: a project in search of a protocol?

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The Lancet, 32 Jamestown Road, NW1 7BY, London, UK. <>


Before it has even begun recruiting participants, the UK Biobank project has raised extraordinary passions among scientists. Some scientists are broadly supportive of the project, and feel that it is a scientifically valid, potentially valuable resource, although they still have reservations over the details of the current protocol. Others see it as an ill-conceived, politically motivated project, in which consultations have only been done to give an appearance of legitimacy and in which the scientific case has not been made for its design. There has been resentment over how the protocol has evolved, and the secrecy and legal constraints that surrounded the process for groups bidding to be involved has had the appearance of attempting to stifle debate. For this article even supporters of the project have been unwilling to be quoted on the record. The only point that everyone seems to agree on is that sufficient debate about the project has not taken place.

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