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NIH Commits $6M to Develop Methods for Gene-Environment Interaction Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has set aside $6 million in funding over the next three years to support the development of methods for identifying gene-environment interactions in genome-wide association studies.  
According to a request for applications NIH issued this week titled, “Methods of Analysis of Gene-Environment Interactions in Complex Diseases: The Genes and Environment Initiative,” NIH expects to award five grants at up to $400,000 in total costs per year per award.
NIH has earmarked $2 million in fiscal year 2007 for the program, which falls under the broader Genes and Environment Initiative, a four-year, NIH-wide program proposed in the President’s FY 2007 budget and currently awaiting Congressional approval.
According to the RFA, NIH is seeking applicants who will “develop and test innovative, informative, and cost-effective methods and analytical strategies for identifying gene-environment interactions in genome-wide association studies, sequencing studies, linkage analyses, or candidate gene approaches with broad applicability in complex diseases.”
Examples of approaches that would be relevant under the RFA include, but are not limited to: 
  • Analytical methods that model combinations of SNPs and environmental exposures to detect nonlinear interactions;
  • Analytical methods that incorporate environmental covariates in genotype-to-phenotype mapping relationships;
  • Algorithms and strategies to evaluate non-genetic factors on phenotypes of complex diseases and test associations between SNPs or haplotypes and phenotypes;
  • Novel approaches to analyze findings from pharmacogenomic studies;
Letters of intent are due Dec. 29 and applications are due Jan. 29, 2007.

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