Estonian Genome Project

The Estonian Genome Project is a population-based biological database and biobank which was established in 2000 to improve public health in Estonia. It contains health records and biological specimens from a large percentage of the Estonian population.

Estonian Genome Center
Founded2000 (2000)
HeadquartersRiia 23B, ,
Key people
Andres Metspalu (Director)



In June 2000 the Estonian Genome Foundation introduced the Estonian government to the Estonian Genome Project, and lobbied for legislative changes and government support to make the project possible.[1] The project organizers invited input broadly from many sectors in planning to establish the EGF.[2] The project was also presented as a cultural investment towards strengthening national identity by contributing to global research.[3] At the time, many research teams were organizing similar projects, but this project was projected to be the world's largest.[4]

An early goal of the project was to collect biological specimens and health data from 70% of Estonia's population of 1.4 million within its first 10 years.[5] By 2004 the EGF had collected data from 10,000 people, and faced fiscal reorganization as they and their primary financier, EGeen, dissolved their partnership.[6] As of February 2014 the project had collected genes, questionnaire data on health (e.g. diet, lifestyle and clinical diagnoses) and GP standard health examinations from 52,000 adult gene donors and the aim had been adjusted downwards to collect genealogical, genome and health data from 5% of the population.[7] [8] The Estonian Genome Centre is based at the University of Tartu.[7]


  1. ^ Metspalu, A. (2004). "The Estonian Genome Project". Drug Development Research. 62 (2): 97–101. doi:10.1002/ddr.10371.
  2. ^ Metspalu, A. (2002). "Estonian Genome Project--before the take-off and take-off". Bioinformatics. 18: S152. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/18.suppl_2.S152. PMID 12385997.
  3. ^ Fletcher, A. L. (2004). "Field of genes: The politics of science and identity in the Estonian genome project". New Genetics and Society. 23 (1): 3–14. doi:10.1080/1463677042000189589. PMID 15468507.
  4. ^ Frank, Lane (6 October 2000). "Give and Take—Estonia's New Model for a National Gene Bank". Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  5. ^ Frank, L. (1999). "GENETIC DISEASE:Storm Brews over Gene Bank of Estonian Population". Science. 286 (5443): 1262–1263. doi:10.1126/science.286.5443.1262. PMID 10610525.
  6. ^ "Landmark research project hits impasse". 22 December 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  7. ^ a b Leitsalu, L; Haller, T; Esko, T; Tammesoo, M. L.; Alavere, H; Snieder, H; Perola, M; Ng, P. C.; Mägi, R; Milani, L; Fischer, K; Metspalu, A (2014). "Cohort Profile: Estonian Biobank of the Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu". International Journal of Epidemiology. doi:10.1093/ije/dyt268. PMID 24518929.
  8. ^ "What is the Genome Center?". Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.