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U.S. Unveils Database of Genetic, Clinical Research

Goal is to advance understanding of ills such as heart disease

SUNDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- One of the largest collections of genetic and clinical data available free to researchers worldwide has been launched by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The Web-based SHARe (SNP Health Association Resource) dataset enables eligible researchers to access data from a number of large population-based studies, starting with the Framingham Heart Study, which includes data on thousands of residents of Framingham, Mass., spanning three generations. The participants in that study had their DNA tested for 550,000 genetic variations.

The goal of SHARe is to speed discoveries linking genes and health and improve understanding of the causes of, and prevention of, a number of different kinds of diseases.

"SHARe represents a major milestone in moving toward an era of personalized health care -- a future in which the ways we prevent, diagnose and treat health problems are tailored to an individual's genetic makeup," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a prepared statement.

SHARe is accessed through the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), a Web-based resource for archiving and distributing data from genome-wide association studies that examine the associations between genes and traits such as weight, cholesterol levels, or the presence/absence of disease. Launched in 2006, dbGaP is operated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

"The SHARe data offer an unparalleled level of study detail, providing a wealth of opportunities for researchers, students and others to learn about study design from some of the brightest minds working in the field," NLM Director Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about genes and health.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, October 2007

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