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Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
Date:9/4/2007

genome between people with an illness and those who are healthy, leading to an understanding of the underlying genetic contribution to the disease. The environmental component will begin by developing new technologies that accurately measure personal exposures with small, wearable sensors that can be used to assess environmental agents. The final component of the research strategy is to determine whether the effect of genetic variants that increase disease risk is different in the presence of environmental exposures. In the first year, NIH will fund eight genome-wide association studies, two genotyping centers, a coordinating center and more than 30 environmental technology projects.

Genome-wide association studies have proven themselves to be powerful tools for discovering the genetic contributions to common diseases, said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH, which is part of HHS. Early findings from such studies have identified new genetic variants associated with a higher risk of common diseases such as prostate cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but researchers have only scratched the surface. The genetic studies being funded today will identify many novel genetic variants associated with an increased risk for these health conditions.

The genome-wide association studies will be led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH. First-year funding for the studies was contributed by all NIH institutes and centers, including an extra investment by NIHs National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

The principal investigators, approximate funding levels and health condition to be focused on are:

Terri Beaty, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
International Consortium to Identify Genes and Interactions Controlling Oral Clefts,
$622,000

Laura Bierut, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Study of Addiction: Genetics and
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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