NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of General Medical Sciences plans to spend $1.6 million in the next fiscal year for programs that will support collaborations between geneticists and systems biologists to discover causes of complexity in human phenotypes, according to a recent request for applications from the National Institutes of Health.
The “Collaborative Studies on Systems Biology of Complex Phenotypes” grant program will fund three or four research programs for up to four years with up to $250,000.
The grant program requires collaboration between two independent investigators, one of whom must be a systems biologist and the other a geneticist.
The goal of the program is to study how complex human phenotypes are created from information encoded in DNA. Mendelian traits are not solely determined by the function of a single allele, NIH said, and a challenge in the foreseeable future will be to identify the collection of genes that can result in disease traits and how these genes and their products interact.
“The application of systems biology to genetics and genomics appears to be a promising approach to begin to understand the mechanisms underlying complex phenotypes,” NIH said in the RFA.
The long-term goal of the program is to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie complex phenotypes so that they may be applied to improving health and diagnosing and treating disease.
Proposals should begin with observations of human conditions and then should formulate and test quantitative models that explain the underlying genetic mechanism.