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NIH Starts Recruiting Children for Genes and Environment Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Institutes of Health's long-term effort to study the interplay between genetics and the environment in 100,000 children over two decades has begun recruiting volunteers it will need to make the study possible, NIH said on Tuesday.

The National Children's Study's first phase of recruitment will start seeking volunteers in Duplin County, NC, and in Queens, NY. These drives for volunteers will be conducted by two of the NCS's Vanguard Centers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

The NCS includes efforts by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

"From city streets to far-flung small towns, the two Vanguard centers will capture a broad sample that's reflective of America's diversity," said Barbara Entwisle, principal investigator for the NCS at UNC-CH.

"The children in the Duplin sample will be representative of other rural areas of the US," she added. She said that while Queens is a densely populated urban region, Duplin County is sparse and rural, and includes large hog and turkey farms and the factories that process them. In Duplin County, there are around 800 births per year, while in Queens there are around 30,000, according to NIH.

These centers will conduct presentations and hold community activities in their respective locations to give volunteers information, clinics and prenatal care providers will distribute information about the study, and letters will be sent around to families in the regions.

In August of this year, NIH said, the remaining five Vanguard centers will begin recruiting and enrolling women to participate in the study. By the end of an 18 month period, each center is expected to have a total of roughly 375 volunteers.

When the study is fully operational, NIH expects the NCS to have around 40 study centers recruiting volunteers from 105 study locations throughout the US.

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