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Recently, large scale genomic projects such as All of Us and the UK Biobank have introduced a new research paradigm where data are stored centrally in cloud-based Trusted Research Environments (TREs). To characterize the advantages and drawbacks of different TRE attributes in facilitating cross-cohort analysis, we conduct a Genome-Wide Association Study of standard lipid measures using two approaches: meta-analysis and pooled analysis. Comparison of full summary data from both approaches with an external study shows strong correlation of known loci with lipid levels (R2 ~ 83-97%). Importantly, 90 variants meet the significance threshold only in the meta-analysis and 64 variants are significant only in pooled analysis, with approximately 20% of variants in each of those groups being most prevalent in non-European, non-Asian ancestry individuals. These findings have important implications, as technical and policy choices lead to cross-cohort analyses generating similar, but not identical results, particularly for non-European ancestral populations.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, Genome-Wide Association Study, Population Health, Genomics, Policy, Lipids