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NIA to Provide up to $6M for Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Analysis Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute on Aging will provide up to $6 million in 2013 to support up to three projects undertaking whole exome and/or whole genome sequencing data analysis to identify genomic contributions to both the risk for and protection against Alzheimer's disease.

NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health, announced the funding program today and it is part of the Presidential Initiative on Alzheimer's Disease.

In early February, the Obama Administration unveiled a $130 million initiative to support research into Alzheimer's disease. NIH said that it would immediately pump an additional $50 million into Alzheimer's studies this year, with the funds coming from the current NIH budget, and another $80 million in the White House's fiscal year 2013 budget will be marked for more such studies.

At the time the initiative was announced, NIH Director Francis Collins said that genomic sequencing would be a key component of the efforts.

According to the funding announcement today, researchers receiving the awards will use sequencing data to study the correlations between human genetic variation and the relationship to health and disease. Specifically, they will seek to identify protective variants in older adults at risk for AD, identify new risk variants among AD cases with low genetic risk, identify new risk variants among AD cases with high genetic risk, and examine these factors in multi-ethnic populations in order to identify new pathways and/or drugs for prevention.

The sequencing data will be provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute via an NIA-approved data repository for analysis. NIA said that the samples were selected from "well-characterized, ethnically diverse study cohorts of individuals with or without an AD diagnosis and the presence or absence of known risk factor genes."

It added that the data are expected to contain the genomes of at least 2,500 subjects.

NIA expects to fund between one and three awards with up to $2 million direct cost per award for fiscal year 2013.

The application due date is Aug. 7, 2012, and the earliest start date for the projects is February 2013. More information on the funding program is available on the NIH website.

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