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National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blair Gately

Contacto en Español:
Sara Rosario Wilson

Paul Cusenza

NIDA Joins Forces With Perlegen To Research Nicotine Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded a $2.1 million contract to Perlegen Sciences, Inc., to investigate the human genome for DNA variations and candidate genes associated with nicotine addiction.

"This partnership, which combines NIDA support and cutting-edge private-sector technology, will help us better understand the significance of genetic influences in smoking," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "As we learn more about genetic influences on nicotine addiction and treatment response, we will be able to individually tailor the treatments for people who are addicted to this powerful drug."

NIDA-supported scientists at Washington University in St. Louis will use Perlegen's technology to analyze more than 1.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genome in people who are highly addicted to nicotine, and compare these findings with those from people who are not addicted to the drug. SNPs (pronounced "snips") are DNA sequence variations that occur when a single nucleotide (A,T,C, or G) in the genome sequence is altered (i.e., when the genetic sequence AATTCCGGA is somehow altered to read ATTTCCGGA).

Most SNPs serve as biological markers for pinpointing a disease on the human genome map. This is because they are usually located near a gene associated with a certain disease. Occasionally, a SNP may actually contribute to a disease and, therefore, can be used to search for and isolate the disease-associated gene.

Perlegen, headquartered in Mountain View, California, was formed in 2000 to accelerate the development of high-resolution, whole-genome scanning.

For more information, contact Blair Gately at the NIDA Press Office (301-443-6245) or Paul Cusenza at Perlegen (650-625-4500).

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.

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