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Monday, September 15, 1997, 12:00 p.m. EDT
In journal advertisements and a new web page, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences today invited scientists to nominate "susceptibility" genes for a large-scale study of how these genes vary from person to person, making some people much more-or less-susceptible to a chemical or poison.
The large study, known as the "Environmental Genome Project," will determine the variance of about 200 selected genes in some 1,000 people representative of the population -- men and women from major population groups.
Humans have about 100,000 genes. Some are clear-cut disease genes, meaning that variations in those genes carry a strong predilection toward a particular disease.
The genes to be studied in the Environmental Genome Project are ones that make people more or less susceptible to natural and man-made chemicals, metals, dietary constituents and other environmental and workplace factors that can cause human diseases. Among these, the project seeks to identify for study 200 genes whose variations are most likely to have a major role in whether a person gets a disease or disorder following an exposure.
The study is part of the answer to why everyone has a story about an "Uncle James" who smoked, drank, ate too much, and worked in a dangerous industry-and lived to be 102 -- whereas most other people with this history died prematurely.
NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health, issued its invitation to scientists in an advertisement in the scientific journals Science, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and Environmental Health Perspectives, and the science newsmagazine The Scientist, and via a webpage where an electronic nominating form is available.
Scientists are invited to make their nominations electronically,including a rationale for including the nominated gene, and/or to participate in a Symposium on the Environmental Genome to be held Oct. 17 and 18 at the Masur Auditorium in the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. NIEHS is one of the National Institutes of Health, as is the National Human Genome Research Institute.
The nominated genes will be peer-reviewed to determine which should be included. They may include such classes of genes as detoxification genes, DNA repair genes, cell cycle and cell death control genes, and genes mediating immune or nutritional factors.
NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit http://www.niehs.nih.gov (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/index.cfm) . Subscribe to one or more of the NIEHS news lists ( http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newslist/index.cfm (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/newslist/index.cfm) ) to stay current on NIEHS news, press releases, grant opportunities, training, events, and publications.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov (http://www.nih.gov/) .
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