English longitudinal study of ageing (ELSA): a genome-wide association study (GWAS)

It is suggested that many economic and social outcomes are 'heritable'. However the actual genetic changes associated with these outcomes are yet to be determined.

Few large population studies with genome wide scan data have detailed phenotype measurements of interest to social science.

Genome-wide data (GWAS) from approximately 8000 people from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and its DNA repository, the EDNAR, will be generated and examined with replication in ELSA's sister study the Health and Retirement study.

Both studies contain cutting edge social and economic phenotype measurements.

This multi-disciplinary project will create a GWAS dataset for the academic community and provide support to use the resource. A core agenda of this project is to develop a new area of research in the UK and the intention is to support the development of skills and capacity within the social science community.

Academic partners from seven disciplines and four institutions will demonstrate the utility of the resource through two demonstration projects.

  1. To examine whether genome wide data explain variability in measures that have economic and social science interest.
  2. To use genetic markers associated with obesity and well-being to examine their bi-directional associations.

Project website


  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Grant amount


Manchester people

Affiliates and partners

  • Andrew Steptoe (UCL)
  • Frank Dudbridge (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)