|NIH's Genes Environment and Health Initiative
Adds Six Studies
The Genes, Environment and Health Initiative (GEI) of the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) today awarded grants estimated
to be up to $5.5 million over two years for six studies aimed at
finding genetic factors that influence the risks for stroke, glaucoma,
high blood pressure, prostate cancer and other common disorders.
The grantees will use a genome-wide association study to rapidly
scan markers across the complete sets of DNA, or genomes, of large
groups of people to find genetic variants associated with a particular
disease, condition or trait.
"Genome-wide association studies are helping us take major strides
towards identifying the genetic variants associated with common
diseases," said National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Acting Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., who is co-chair of the
GEI coordinating committee. "This initiative will yield valuable
information about the biological pathways that lead to health and
disease and about how genetic variants, environmental factors and
behavioral choices interact to influence disease risk. Such information
is vital to our efforts to develop more personalized approaches
to health care."
GEI is collaboration between genetic researchers and environmental
scientists. Six GEI-supported genome-wide association studies,
overseen by NHGRI, are already under way. Two additional GEI studies,
supported and managed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial
Research, have also begun. In addition, the National Institute
of Environmental Health Sciences is overseeing GEI-supported research
that seeks to develop wearable sensors and other technologies to
accurately measure personal exposures to environmental agents.
Funding for the latest round of studies was contributed by all
of NIHís 27 institutes and centers. The principal investigators,
their approximate funding for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, and their
research projects are:
Kathleen Barnes, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine, Baltimore; $1.2 million. Genome-Wide Associations:
Environmental Interactions in the Lung Health Study.
Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston; $1.1
million. Genome-Wide Association Study of Longitudinal Blood Pressure
Profiles from Young Adulthood to Middle-Age.
Sc.D., University of Southern California, Los Angeles; $210,000.
A Multiethnic Genome-Wide Scan of Prostate Cancer.
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; $1.1 million. Genome-Wide Association
of Venous Thrombosis (Blood Clots in Veins).
Mitchell, Ph.D., University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; $1.1
million. Genetic Risk to Stroke in Smokers and Nonsmokers in Two
Louis Pasquale, M.D., Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, $850,000. Genes and
Environment Initiative in Glaucoma.
Data from the genome-wide association
studies will be deposited in the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes
(dbGaP), http://view.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/dbgap, at the National Center
for Biotechnology Information, a part of the National Library of
Medicine at NIH, which will manage the vast amount of genetic,
medical and environmental information that emerges from GEI. To
encourage rapid research advances, and in keeping with the principles
pioneered by the Human Genome Project, all data generated through
these initiatives will be made available to researchers, consistent
with NIHís data-sharing policy for NIH-supported, genome-wide association
studies, which is available on NIHís Office of Extramural Research
Genome-Wide Association Studies Web page at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/gwas/.
For researchers who want to view genome-wide association data produced
by GEI, dbGaP offers two levels of access. The first is open-access,
which means the information will be available without restriction
on the Internet, and the second is controlled-access, which requires
preauthorization for the individual researcher seeking to view
it. The open-access section will allow users to view study documents,
such as protocols, questionnaires and summaries of phenotype data.
The second is the controlled-access portion of the database, which
allows approved researchers to download individual-level genotype
and phenotype data from which the study participantsí personal
identifiers, such as names, have been removed.
on genome-wide association studies can be found at www.genome.gov/17516714.
More information on environmental impacts on health can be found
NIEHS, a component of the National
Institutes of Health, supports research to understand the effects
of the environment on human health. For more information on environmental
health topics, visit http://www.niehs.nih.gov/.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is the nationís leading funder
of research on oral, dental and craniofacial health. Additional
information about NIDCR can be found at its Web site, http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/.
NHGRI is one of 27 institutes and centers at the NIH, an agency
of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NHGRI Division
of Extramural Research supports grants for research and for training
and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information
about NHGRI can be found at its Web site, www.genome.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.