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Medical News and Perspectives
April 12, 2006

NIH Initiatives to Probe Contribution of Genes, Environment in Disease

JAMA. 2006;295(14):1633-1634. doi:10.1001/jama.295.14.1633

Pinpointing the exact genetic basis of common diseases and providing tools to measure environmental contributions to those diseases are the goals of a pair of new initiatives being launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The complementary initiatives, announced in early February, will build on the work of large-scale efforts such as the Human Genome Project and the International HapMap Project to provide more specific information about the roots of diseases that occur frequently, such as diabetes, asthma, common cancers, and schizophrenia. In one of the initiatives, the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN), investigators will mine genetic data collected in selected NIH-funded clinical studies to zero in on the genes responsible for 7 common diseases. In the other, the Genes and Environment Initiative (GEI), better technology and methods for measuring a person's environmental exposures and the biological consequences of such exposures will be developed.

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