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MoBa Genetics, Genetic data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort study

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Illustrasjonsfoto: Colourbox.com

MoBa Genetics is a research infrastructure aiming to genotype all participants in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), and offer access to this data using a secure analysis platform to approved research projects.


The overall aim of MoBa Genetics is to genotype all available DNA samples from participants in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), and further to make these genetic data available for research projects. As of today, all access to the genotype data will be granted through the Services for sensitive data (TSD) at the University of Oslo.

MoBa welcomes applications for access to the MoBa Genetics infrastructure to answer specific scientific aims. Before applying for access to MoBa Genetics, please read the following information. Contact the MoBa administration if any further information is needed.

The Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study

MoBa is a prospective population-based pregnancy cohort study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Participants were recruited from all over Norway from 1999-2008. The women consented to participation in 41% of the pregnancies. The cohort now includes 285 000 participants. Of these DNA is available in 239 000 participants or 59 000 complete trios (mother, father and child).

General information of health and exposures are collected with questionnaires during pregnancy and onwards. Biological material have been collected from the participants. Blood samples were obtained from both parents during pregnancy and from mothers and children (umbilical cord) at birth.

Genotyping of MoBa

The genotyping of the MoBa samples is a collaborative effort, performed mainly in three research projects, and several smaller projects. The three main projects are:

HARVEST - Per Minor Magnus, NIPH and Pål Njølstad, UiB (Principal investigators)

  • 33 000 samples (11 000 trios)
  • Analysed on Illumina HumanCoreExome at Genomics Core Facility Trondheim  

ERC (HARVEST) - Pål Njølstad, UiB (Principal investigator)

  • 27 000 samples (9 000 trios)
  • Analysed on Illumina Global Screening Array at ERASMUS MC 

NORMENT - Ole Andreassen, UiO/OUS (Principal investigator)

  • 90 000 samples (26 000 trios)
  • Analysed on Illumina OmniExpress at deCODE 

The PIs mentioned above (Per Minor Magnus, Pål Njølstad and Ole Andreassen) are, until 2025, to be invited to participate in any study using this genetic data. MoBa expect all researchers to follow the guidelines from the Vancouver Convention regarding authorship. The number of collaborators and authorships should be agreed upon following a dialogue between the project participants.

MoBa Genetics

The following samples are available in the MoBa Genetics infrastructure of today:

HARVEST - Per Minor Magnus, NIPH and Pål Njølstad, UiB (Principal investigators)

  • 33 000 samples (11 000 trios)
  • Analysed on Illumina HumanCoreExome at Genomics Core Facility Trondheim

After the Regulation on population-based health surveys came into force on 13.08.2018, all data and results from analysis can be returned to MoBa (§ 5-1) without further approval from the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK). Results from analysis of data or human biological material from MoBa can be returned to MoBa, and stored and reused (cf. section 3.10). Therefore, genetic data from various projects based on MoBa can be returned to MoBa - and then not only be saved, but also reused. The list above will be updated when new samples are added to the infrastructure. Any project who has access to MoBa genetics will have access to, at any given time point, all quality-controlled genetic data in the infrastructure.

An important part of the data delivery is assuring high quality data for the researchers using the genotypes in downstream analyses. A group of researchers, previously experienced in quality control (QC) assessment of array data, has performed QC on the first data set mentioned above.

This dataset consist of the following:

  • Raw data directly from the scanner (.idat)
  • Raw data exported from GenomeStudio
  • Quality controlled data
  • Additional documentation regarding the samples and data set (metadata)

More information about the dataset, what files are available and how the quality control was performed is available upon request or when accessing the infrastructure.

Access to approved MoBa questionnaire data will be delivered directly to each research projects Principal Investigator, based on the aim of their research’s projects.

Who can apply for access?

Any research group with a Principal Investigator affiliated with a Norwegian research institute can apply for access to analyze MoBa questionnaire data and/or genetic data. This means that research groups from non-Norwegian countries must find a collaboration partner in Norway to be able to access MoBa data. The Principal Investigator must have research experience, usually demonstrated with a PhD degree.

All projects must have an approval from The Regional Committee for Medical Research in Norway (REK) and comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The project also need to establish a project area at the Services for sensitive data (TSD) at the University of Oslo. Other approvals may be applicable.

Cost for access to MoBa Genetics

The cost for access to MoBa Genetics is calculated based on the costs of the infrastructure and storing of the data, facilitating access to structure and quality controlled data as well as development and management of the infrastructure. The price is subject to change when MoBa Genetics is complete and a permanent infrastructure and administration model is in place.

When planning a new research project based on MoBa, please include costs related to data access and biological material in the project budget.

Price list for MoBa

Prices in this list may be changed at short notice. The current price will be the one set out in the contract between MoBa and the sub-study, or as stipulated in a decision letter. Included in the price is access to, at any given time point, the maximum number of quality-controlled genetic data. 

MoBa expect the project group to comprise the necessary competence to analyse the data.

How to apply for access

The application process for access to MoBa Genetics is described below. The steps in the figure are described in more detail below the figure. The PI is responsible for the tasks in the blue boxes. The MoBa administration or the MoBa data unit is responsible for the tasks in the orange boxes.

Application process:

  1. The principal investigator (PI) collects all required documents in English.
    • Approval (REK or similar)
    • Funding
    • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
    • MoBa variable form if required
  2. The PI submits the application, including required documents, using the NIPH electronic application form.
  3. The MoBa administration assess all new applications once a month.
  4. If the application is uncomplete or unclear the MoBa administration may request additional information or documentation.
  5. The PI updates the application by replying to the MoBa administrations questions or request to mobaadm@fhi.no. The MoBa administration will then assess the application again.
  6. If the application is declined, a rejection letter will be sent to the PI. The PI may revise the application and resubmit if desired.
  7. If the application is approved, a Data Access Agreement (DAA) will be sent to the PI for signing.
  8. The PI should establish a TSD project area at UiO:
    • If the project does not have a TSD account, the PI has to apply for this at UiO.
    • If the project already has a TSD account no action is needed
  9. The PI submits a signed copy of the DAA to mobaadm@fhi.no. In addition the following documents must be submitted:
    • "Request for data" form 
      • Billing information
    • Name(PXXX) of TSD area
      • Expiration data for the TSD area
      • Name and e-mail address for the TSD area administrator
  10. The MoBa administration assesses the documents and submitted information.
  11. The MoBa data unit (MorBarnData@fhi.no) will inform the PI about when to expect the release of phenotypic data and, if applicable, other data files. The MoBa TSD personnel requests TSD to grant the project reading access to MoBa Genetics and when obtained, informs the PI and/or the projects TSD administrator.
  12. If further information or documentation is needed the MoBa administration or the MoBa data center will contact the PI directly.
  13. Access to MoBa Genetics and, if applicable, phenotypic data granted and the research can start.

Contact information

For more information or questions, please contact the MoBa administration: