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NIH funds first nationaL SNP genotyping center at Broad Institute

Bethesda, Md. -- The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today it will fund the first national center for high-throughput genotyping dedicated solely to large-scale SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) analysis at the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. A five-year cooperative agreement will provide over $14 million to create a high-capacity resource so that U.S. researchers can quickly and cost-effectively carry out large-scale studies of genetic variation in humans and animals to advance disease gene identification.

Research on genetic variation is aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of numerous diseases of humans that may have significant genetic components -- such as Type 1 diabetes, schizophrenia, and some types of cancer -- by identifying specific genetic markers, or genotypes, that are associated with particular diseases or responses to drug therapies. Studies examining genetic variation in animals such as mice and rats can identify genetic regions that, in humans, may contribute to complex diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

"The tremendous potential of genetic research makes it critical that we develop this central resource so investigators around the country can access high capacity genotyping with the additional benefits of economies of scale, quality assurance and data sharing," said NCRR Division for Clinical Research Resources Director Anthony Hayward, M.D., Ph.D. "The demand for genotyping will grow exponentially as investigators prioritize potential targets for treatment and as members of afflicted families try to better estimate their risk for a particular condition."

Many diseases can be traced to inherited differences in each individual's genes. The most common type of variation in the human genome is the single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP (pronounced "snip"). A SNP is a
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