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
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
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
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.