Skip to Main Content

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Biospecimen Program


1) NHANES DNA Specimen Repository reopened

2) NHANES Genetic Data Repository updated with 800,000 additional variants

3) NHANES Serum/plasma/urine Specimens Repositories added more recent samples

Samples and data are from the nationally representative NHANES surveys NHANES III and 1999-2016.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program is a collection of stored serum, plasma, urine, and DNA specimens and genetic data that are readily available and can be used by researchers. Blood and /or urine samples were collected from eligible and willing participants from the NHANES III and NHANES survey cycles 1999-2016. Data produced from research using NHANES biospecimens are added to the NHANES database and made available to the public.

The DNA Specimen repository, which was reopened for use among researchers in October 2016, feature DNA specimens collected in NHANES III Phase II (1991-1994) and in NHANES cycles 1999-2002, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2011-2012. The program is a nationally representative collection of stored DNA specimens and genetic data and will serve to add to the extensive amount of information collected from NHANES. The repository contains DNA specimen from ~27,000 NHANES participants.

The NHANES Genetic Data Repository added 800,000 genetics variants in October 2015. All variants pass NCHS Quality Control Review. Available variants are searchable at NHANES Genetic Variant. These data are restricted and available for research via the NCHS Research Data Center.

The NHANES Serum/plasma/urine Repositories contain over 1 million total vials of pristine serum, plasma and urine samples (i.e. immediately frozen for storage at the point of collection and not tested in a lab) and surplus samples (obtained after a laboratory has tested the samples and sent them back in a frozen state to our repository). All samples are stored at -80 degrees. Both pristine and surplus serum, plasma and urine samples are available for future research projects.

NHANES participants provide a separate consent/assent for the storage and use of their specimens for future research. Results of this research is not given back to these participants. Please see the NHANES Biospecimen Program website for more detailed information on what types of specimens are available and how to access them.

Federal Register notice: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) DNA Specimens: Guidelines for Proposals To Use Specimens and Cost Schedule

To learn more about NCS biological and environmental samples, please Login or register. There are currently over 200,000 biological samples, most with consent for genetic analysis, and more than 4,000 environmental samples available for new and unique research analysis.