Largest ever study of genetics behind disease

21 April 2008

The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCC) has received £30 million to begin a new series of genome wide association studies, or GWAs (see press release). The venture, the largest study of genetics behind common diseases, will be funded by the Wellcome Trust and is a follow up to last year’s successful completion of a similar but smaller scale study (see previous news).

The previous study examined DNA samples from 19,000 individuals in order to gain a better understanding of the genetic factors involved in eight complex diseases. The current study involves a much larger sample number of 120,000, which will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of 25 diseases through examining single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a comprehensive number of copy number variants (CNVs). Along with improved knowledge with respect to disease genetics, the undertaking will also look at the genetics of learning in children, and individual responses to statins.