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Researcher awarded $2.27 million to study environmental effects on gene copy number
Date:10/4/2010

been harmed by effects linked to changes in the number of gene copies. Answers to these questions have profound implications for the long-term health of human populations that are living longer and doing so in the presence of a greater diversity of chemicals in our water that can modify DNA."

The award is unusual in that it funds basic research on how the environment can change an individual's susceptibility to disease rather than focusing on understanding the cause of a specific disease or the effects of a singular class of chemicals. Undergraduate and graduate students, research staff and postdoctoral investigators will be employed to work on the project.

"We're pleased -- but not surprised -- that Joe was recognized as an outstanding new environmental scientist," said SPEA Dean John D. Graham. "Joe's work has extraordinary long-term implications across several areas of research."

One consequence of the Human Genome Project and other genome sequencing studies that decode the genetic make-up of living organisms has been an awareness that the quantity of gene copies can vary from one individual to another. Furthermore, there are strong associations between gene copy number variation and a wide array of diseases, including autism, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, HIV susceptibility, lupus, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

The impact of the environment on gene copy number remains unknown, however, in part because appreciation of the significance of CNV is so new. Also new is the toolbox needed for advancing environmental genomics research at an unprecedented pace. Researchers at Indiana University lead an international consortium, the Daphnia Genomics Consortium, devoted to obtaining high-throughput genetic data from natural populations of Daphnia. The toolbox they are developing is unique to the environmental sciences and now includes genome sequences, reagents, protocols and databases needed to simultaneously measure and i
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Contact: Jana Wilson
wilsonjs@indiana.edu
812-856-5490
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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