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U-M Health and Retirement Study adds genetic data to NIH database
Date:3/28/2012

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, a 20-year nationwide survey of the health, economic and social status of older Americans conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research, has added genetic information from 12,500 consenting participants to the online genetics database of the National Institutes of Health.

The genetic data was posted today to dbGAP, the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, an online genetic database developed by the NIH.

"This step marks an important milestone in the expansion of traditional social science research to include biometric and biological data, including genetic material," said ISR Director James Jackson.

The Health and Retirement Study genetic data, now available for analysis by qualified researchers, is comprised of approximately 2.5 million genetic markers from each person, obtained from saliva samples. Specific information on the data can be found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/gap/cgi-bin/study.cgi?study_id=phs000428.v1.p1 and http://hrsonline.isr.umich.edu.

"The addition of genetic data provides a major new dimension for the study and is expected to result in much deeper insights into how we age," said Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging. "With detailed information on genetic background, combined with the wealth of data on important aspects of the lives of older people, researchers will be better able to describe the spectrum of behavioral and environmental risk factors for disease and disability, as well as those that may protect our health."

Data from a total of 20,000 HRS participants is expected to be posted to the database by the end of 2013. This will allow researchers to conduct genome-wide association studies on survivorship, longevity and genetic determinants of aging, alon
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Contact: Diane Swanbrow
swanbrow@umich.edu
734-647-4416
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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