In order to better understand the role of genetic and environmental factors in the incidence of common diseases, the United States has planned to launch two major research studies The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced this recently.
The link between genes, environment and the disease would form the main focus of the study. One of the projects would revolve around the significance of genetic variation in increasing or decreasing susceptibility to diseases while the other would concentrate on parameters such as diet, pollution, behavior and type of work in the incidence of diseases.
Both the research project are hoped to identify innumerable number of genes that work together to increase or decrease risk of illness in a particular individual, according to Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute.
The project is estimated to run at a cost of approximately 60 million U.S. dollars that the NIH hopes to share with major pharmaceutical companies that express interest in a partnership. The NIH has volunteered to set apart a sum of 68 million dollars to support the project that would take nearly 3 years to complete.
Data from previous and ongoing studies would be used up for the project. Gene sequencing is yet another technique that would be taken up by the researchers, who would concentrate largely on the identification of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) that are believed to confer enhanced or decreased disease susceptibility.
A lot of financial resources have been spent on the characterization of the genetic constitution of a number of individuals that will provide adequate data to study nearly 100 diseases. The list of diseases to be studied would be announced shortly by the NIH. In addition, scientists from all around the world are encouraged to participate in the research.
The development of sensors that can be worn by an individual to accurately predict blood and other biochemical changes following certain exposures is also under consideration by the NIH.