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NIH to Fund Grants to Support HLA Genomics Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health is seeking to fund research into genomic variations in human leukocyte antigen (HLA), natural killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor regions(KIR), and immune-mediated.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will make $3.5 million available in 2010 for research that will participate in the HLA Genomics and Immune-Mediated Diseases Consortium, funding between four and five new renewal awards under U19 and U01 grants.

The program will grant roughly $1.2 million for the U19 track awards, and between $250,000 and $400,000 for the U01 track awards.

The goal is to continue to generate high-quality HLA and KIR disease association data.

Immune-mediated diseases affect roughly ten percent of the world's population, and the risk and severity of these diseases have been shown to correlate with genetic variations in HLA genes, according to NIAID.

The HLA gene complex is "the most polymorphic region of the human genome, displaying an extraordinary degree of sequence variation between individuals, racial groups, and ethnic populations," NIAID said.

The research projects this program may fund include, but are not limited to discovery of new HLA and KIR region genomic variations and immune-mediated disease associations; associations between immune-mediated disease or transplant outcomes, and SNPs, SNP haplotypes, microsatellites, or copy number variation within the HLA and KIR regions; non HLA genes within the HLA region; HLA locus gene dose effects that are associated with disease severity; HLA-region genomics and gene-association studies of disease that disproportionately affect certain racial, ethnic, or gender groups; and the association of HLA and KIR region genes with susceptibility or resistance to, or progression of, immune-mediated diseases, including autoimmune-related diseases.

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