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Project to Identify Anorexia Nervosa-related SNPs Awarded $7.2M

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Klarman Family Foundation has awarded up to $7.2 million to a University of North Carolina researcher to lead a genetic research project into eating disorders.

The foundation awarded the grant to Cynthia Bulik, director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, to lead the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative.

Established in 2013 by the Klarman Foundation, ANGI will collect information and blood samples from more than 8,000 women and men who have had anorexia nervosa, as well as those who haven't, to detect genes that contribute to the illness.

Patients in the initiative will have their genomes analyzed for SNPs, which can be associated with anorexia nervosa. The SNPs, UNC said, could serve as powerful pointers to the region of the human genome where the disease-causing problem resides."

ANGI also includes researchers from the Karolinska Institute, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, and Aarhus University.

"Once we identify genetic associations in ANGI, we will use the information to develop better strategies to detect, treat, and prevent anorexia nervosa," Bulik said. "If our project is successful, it will change the life course of millions of individuals with anorexia and their families."