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NHLBI Nixes Disease-causing Variant Program, Cites Budgeting Priorities

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute said today that it has terminated a grant program to fund projects that would have examined exome sequencing data in search of disease-causing variants.

NHLBI made the decision to withdraw the research project grant program after "careful review of our budgetary situation," and due to "competing priorities," according to an NHLBI notice posted today.

The institute also plans to review more results from the Grand Opportunities Exome Sequencing Project, an effort that sequenced 7,500 samples from well-phenotyped populations to discover all the variations in exons and is creating a massive exome dataset for disease studies, and that it may decide to "address specific scientific gaps" with targeted grants at a later time.

The withdrawn R01 funding opportunity, "Identifying Heart, Lung, and Blood Disease-Causing Variants," would have provided up to $1.5 million per year for researchers to study the data generated by the exome sequencing project in search of variants linked specifically to heart, lung, and blood diseases.

The primary phenotypes included in the exome dataset include myocardial infarction, extremes of low-density lipoprotein, extremes of blood pressure, early onset ischemic stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and others of interest to NHLBI.

The GO ESP was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 by the $200 million Grand Opportunities program.

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