Leena Peltonen (Governance Council Chair/Dr.)
|National Public Health Institute, Helsinki Biomedicum
Markus Perola (Dr.)
|National Public Health Institute, Department of Molecular Medicine (KTL, MLO)
The project is underway and its implementation is coordinated by the National Public Health Institute and University of Helsinki under the guidance of Professor Leena Peltonen. It is carried out in seven European countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy, United Kingdom) and Australia. The population cohorts used in the GenomEUtwin study consists of several existing twin cohorts and the MORGAM population cohort. It has received funding from the 5th Framework program "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" of the European Union for a period of four years.
The GenomEUtwin project has established five core facilities operational since October 2002: Epidemiological (Odense), Database (Karolinska-Sweden) (an agreement on a database concept has been reached with IBM), Ethical Issues/Consent (Oslo-Norway), DNA extraction and DNA and Genotyping (Uppsala and Helsinki) and Phenotyping (Stockholm).
Studies of large population cohorts are needed to transform genetic information to a detailed understanding of the predisposing factors in diseases affecting most human populations. European twin cohorts provide a unique competitive advantage for investigations of the role of genetics and environment or life style in the etiology of common diseases. This project applies and develops new molecular and statistical strategies to analyze unique European twin and other population cohorts so as to define and characterize the genetic, environmental and life-style components in the background of health problems. The target traits are: stature, obesity, migraine, coronary heart disease, stroke and longevity. The project has a foundation on the European strength in genetics, epidemiology and biocomputing and the efficient collaboration of twin researchers, genetic epidemiologists, molecular geneticists and mathematicians.
To this day, data from 1.6 million study participants have been collected, accumulated by the various cohort studies. The first stage consists of genotyping 10 000 samples with genome-wide markers and specific target SNPs in relation to the five traits mentioned. The statistical analyses of the first 6000 completed genome scans is on-going. The team has selected more informative pairs for target traits (CHD, BMI, stature, migraine, longevity) and is currently working in the standardization of methods, measures and practices. Genome scans and targeted SNP analyses are ongoing.
The GenomEUtwin general research objectives are:
- To develop an intellectual European framework to stimulate inventions and novel strategies in the genetic epidemiological research of common diseases and traits
- To utilize maximally the unique features of population cohorts (longitudinal data and ample information about life-style and environmental factors)
- To guarantee the access of European investigators to the epidemiological, phenotypic and genotypic information on European population cohorts
- To create a unique infrastructure for research into common diseases and the training of scientists in quantitative biology
|Design of the member studies