In order to make a powerful research tool, more than 100.000 Californians send their saliva samples to genetic researchers. This research should link genetic variants to many health conditions. The co-leader of the project is Neil Risch, PhD. The first results are available in the journal Genetics. Dr. Risch said that they received a lot of data. This is much better than any other, conventional research. They can link genomic data with the clinical records and track down environmental and genetic contributions to that particular disease.
The researchers already pinpointed variants connected with: glaucoma, diabetes, prostate cancer, allergies, macular degeneration and high cholesterol. These data covers many diseases and conditions. The researchers from the UCSF are working together with the Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health. They collected data from 110.226 people. The first published article was about the connection between genetic ancestry and self-reported ethnicity. It is expected that researchers complete this research in 14 months.
In just 2 years, the team processed 100.000 samples. They characterized 70 billion genetic variants. Prof. Pui-Yan Kwok from the Human Genetics at UCSF, said that back in 2009 this was a serious task. It was never done before. The team developed a hi-tech robotic system. It has completed the testing in just 4 months.
The average age of people who participated in the study was 63 years. Researchers focused on diseases that are connected with age. The research included the investigation on the telomere (the protective caps on our chromosomes). Their size is decreased more in men between 50 and 75 years of age. However, the length is increased in men and women aged 80-90.