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National asthma genetics consortium releases first results
Date:7/31/2011

enrolled in a study. To find variants involved in complex diseases, thousands of participants may be necessary a logistical and financial demand often beyond the capacity of an individual research team.

"It has become clear to geneticists studying nearly every common disease that GWAS are often under-powered, and unless you pull together many researchers doing the same thing you're just not going to have the power to find genes," said Dan Nicolae, PhD, associate professor of medicine, statistics, and human genetics at University of Chicago, co-chair of the consortium and another senior author of the study. "That was the motivation for nine groups of investigators coming together to form EVE."

Spurred by support from the NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health, research groups from the nine institutions discussed pooling their GWAS data to create a larger, shared dataset. But it wasn't until they received a $5.6 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that the EVE Consortium could officially form and hire the necessary personnel to execute the collaboration.

"It would never have been possible without the grant, this was a huge amount of work," said Nicolae, "The key was the ARRA funding that allowed us to move it faster."

In addition to increased power to find variants associated with asthma risk, the EVE dataset comprised a more ethnically diverse population than similar efforts in other countries by including European Americans, African Americans/African Caribbeans, and Latinos.

"We believe that this heterogeneity is important," Ober said. "There are differences in asthma prevalence in these three groups, so it's important to understand whether these are caused by environmental exposures or by differences in genetic risk factors."

The diverse sample enabled the researchers to discover a novel genetic association with asthma observed exclusively in African-Americans and African
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Contact: Robert Mitchum
robert.mitchum@uchospitals.edu
773-795-5227
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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