Using the MR-Base platform to investigate risk factors and drug targets for thousands of phenotypes

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Mendelian randomization (MR) uses genetic information to strengthen causal inference concerning the effect of exposures on outcomes. This method has a broad range of applications, including investigating risk factors and appraising potential targets for intervention. MR-Base has become established as a freely accessible, online platform, which combines a database of complete genome-wide association study results with an interface for performing Mendelian randomization and sensitivity analyses. This allows the user to explore millions of potentially causal associations. MR-Base is available as a web application or as an R package. The technical aspects of the tool have previously been documented in the literature. The present article is complimentary to this as it focuses on the applied aspects. Specifically, we describe how MR-Base can be used in several ways, including to perform novel causal analyses, replicate results and enable transparency, amongst others. We also present three use cases, which demonstrate important applications of Mendelian randomization and highlight the benefits of using MR-Base for these types of analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113
Number of pages14
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019


  • genetics
  • sensitivity analysis
  • causality
  • causal inference
  • GWAS
  • Mendelian Randomization


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