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Feinstein Institute: Researching a Family Tree of Autoimmune Disorders
Date:9/3/2008

her family led her to contact members of her extended family and ask them to participate in the MADGC study. When Feinstein researchers heard about their family reunion, they asked for an official invite. They would bring the consent forms, the needles and tubes and anyone who was interested in donating their DNA could participate. This wasn't the first time that they would crash parties in the line of research. They have great wedding stories!

Ms. Demers and Ms. Sadiq were set to arrive at the reunion on the night of July 12th - with plenty of time to set up and start the blood draws. But Arkansas is not a direct route and with plane service what it is they ended up stuck in Chicago with no hopes of air travel to Arkansas that night. After a 10-hour wait, they scored two lone seats on separate flights. Ms. Demers made her way by detour through Texas and Ms. Sadiq had a direct flight to Little Rock. They finally met in Arkansas at 12:30 in the morning and rented a car for a three-hour drive through unlit roads spotted with cow farms. They spent the better part of an hour behind a chicken truck with feathers plastered against their windshield.

After a few hours of much-needed sleep, they got up early in the morning to set up for the study. They brought along a six-foot family tree that brought a flood of people into the room to find themselves or their loved ones on the medical map. They collected a few teaspoons of blood from 24 relatives with a promise of six more who could not make it to the reunion. Scientists at the Feinstein Institute will do a whole genome association study on each blood sample and also look in the serum for antibodies associated with a variety of autoimmune diseases. The research subjects will not be receiving personal genetic information generated from this study.

"I have a lot of family members with kids and they have kids and those kids may eventually benefit from what these scientists discover about our f
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