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PGP Starts Enrollment Process, Spells Out Selection Criteria for PGP-100

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This article was originally published June 17.

Harvard Medical School's Personal Genome Project seeks to recruit as its next 100 participants "older individuals," people with grown children, several members from the same family, and individuals "motivated to represent the PGP in various stakeholder communities," according to enrollment information recently provided to potential participants.

Last week, PGP sent an e-mail to individuals who had previously registered to receive more information about the project, inviting them to begin an eligibility screening process after signing an online consent form for the screening and establishing an online account.

As part of the eligibility screening, volunteers have to fill out a questionnaire with personal information, pass an online entrance exam testing their knowledge of genetics and other relevant concepts, and read and review — but not yet sign — the PGP consent form.

Based on certain criteria, the PGP will then either allow volunteers to proceed with enrollment, waitlist them, or reject them.

Minimum eligibility criteria include being at least 21, a US resident, and willing to share genetic and trait data publicly.

Staff members and students of George Church, the PGP's principal investigator, or anyone "potentially subject to undue influence or coercion" by Church, are not eligible to participate.

The project, which has already released initial exon sequence and trait data for its first 10 participants, called the PGP-10, is currently accepting applications for its second phase, the PGP-100, which will have 100 participants (see In Sequence 5/5/2009). These will be required to visit a medical center in Boston at their own expense. After that, the PGP plans to expand enrollment to 1,000 participants, followed by 10,000.

Eligibility and selection criteria "may change as the project grows," and for future phases, the organizers plan "options for volunteers unable to travel to Boston."

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