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Baby and Mum Samples Study

Delivering the NHS-embedded Generation Study

Newborn baby being kissed by mother and yawning

Finding the best way to take samples from babies

The Generation Study is unique. This means that when we’re making decisions for how our study should be run, we can’t rely on other studies or previous practice. It’s for this reason that we sometimes need to carry out our own research to make decisions about our study’s design.

One of the decisions we need to make is how to take samples from the babies who take part in the Generation Study. To help us to make this decision, in September 2022, we launched the Baby and Mum Samples Study (BaMSS). This small ‘study within a study’ is helping us to make decisions for the Generation Study, which will begin in late 2023.

The Baby and Mum Samples Study

BaMSS aims to answer the question: ‘what is the best way to take a sample from a baby, in order to sequence their genome?’ It is vital that we answer this question, as our Programme’s research study relies on attaining and analysing high-quality genome sequences from the 100,000 babies who take part.

Samples donated from 600 mums and babies at five NHS sites across England are helping us to answer this important question. We would like to say a huge thanks to all of those mums and babies.

We would also like to thank the NHS teams who supported our study at Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, West Middlesex Hospital, and Whipps Cross Hospital. Their support in running this study was invaluable.

Before enrolling mums and babies in BaMSS, we required research ethics committee (REC) approval. The Health Research Authority helps to manage this process, and has provided a brief summary of our study on its website.

To the mums and babies who took part

If you were one of those mums who took part in BaMSS, we’ll keep our promise to you that we’ll openly share what we learn from your and your baby’s participation. Updates on what we find will be posted here as our findings emerge. We will also announce updates via Genomics England’s newsletter (to sign up to the newsletter, please click the 'subscribe' button on the updates banner below).

Next steps for the Baby and Mum Samples Study

Thanks to the mums and babies who took part, we have collected all of the samples we need in order to identify the best method for taking samples from newborns. This means that we are no longer recruiting to this study.

Researchers in our team will now examine the samples that were donated, with the aim of working out which method gives us the most complete genome sequence. We hope to share our findings later in 2023.

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