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NHGRI Plans $5M for Phase II of Genomic Variant Studies in Non-Europeans

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Human Genome Research Institute plans to use around $5 million next year to fund research projects that study genomic variation and disease-related variants in populations that are not of European ancestry (EA).

Under these two new Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology, or PAGE, funding opportunities, NHGRI plans next year to provide up to $4.2 million to fund research projects and $800,000 for a center to coordinate and support the studies.

These grants mark the launch of the second phase of the ongoing PAGE program, which began in 2008.

The program aims to identify disease-associated genomic regions where there are population differences in allele frequency or linkage disequilibrium (LD) structure, to build a resource of non-EA individuals whose genotype and phenotype data could be used as a reference for the scientific community, and to explore associations of DNA sequence variation with a broad range of phenotypes including conditions that disproportionately affect people of non-European ancestry.

This four-year effort will extend the initial phase of PAGE to include large-sale, dense assays of common and rare coding and/or potentially functional genomic variation in a large number of non-EA participants for whom extensive phenotype information is available.

For the purposes of this project, NIH expects that researchers are likely to use high-density genotyping array technology to assess genomic variation, but it also suggests that the technologies are likely to evolve over the course of the four-year program.

Dubbed PAGE II, this phase of the program seeks to expand understanding that has been gained during PAGE I and similar studies of how allele frequencies and LD structure may explain traits and conditions.

The coordinating center will facilitate and support the activities of PAGE II and organize phenotype harmonization efforts by connecting experts within the study cohorts, synthesizing individual-level genotype and phenotype data from the studies, and providing logistical and administrative support to the consortium as a whole.

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