Emory School of Medicine teams with deCODE Genetics to study link between genes and disease

The Emory University School of Medicine has formed a strategic alliance with deCODE genetics, an Icelandic genomics company that is using its uniquely comprehensive population data to identify the genetic factors underlying common diseases. DeCODE has created an extensive database that anonymously cross-references genealogical information about the Icelandic population with genetic and disease data from volunteer patients and their relatives in more than 50 disease projects. The approach has enabled deCODE to locate key genetic factors involved in the predisposition to and development of more than 20 common diseases.

Emory University physicians and scientists will use the genetic clues provided by deCODE, along with deCODE's advanced genotyping capabilities, to advance clinical and laboratory research within the diverse Emory patient population. In addition, Emory will collaborate with deCODE on research projects covering many diseases and contribute extensive clinical and research expertise to deCODE in a number of medical specialties. Scientists within the two institutions expect the partnership to be the springboard for a rapid expansion of discoveries about the links between specific inherited genes and their role in complex diseases.

deCODE genetics was founded in 1996 by Kari Stefansson, M.D., Ph.D., and Jeffrey Gulcher, M.D., Ph.D., former Harvard colleagues who recognized the potential of Iceland's unique genealogical records for conducting population-wide linkage studies to uncover the genetic factors involved in common diseases. The Icelandic population of approximately 290,000 individuals is descended from a relatively small group of settlers who arrived from Norway and the British Isles beginning in the ninth century, and immigration has been very limited since that time. The study of genealogy is a national Icelandic pastime, and family lineages are well characterized and recorded. deCODE employs nearly 600 people at its headquar

Contact: Holly Korschun
Emory University Health Sciences Center

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