NAMHC Concept Clearance •
Thomas Lehner, Ph.D., MPH
Genomics Research Branch
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science
This initiative will support the collection of large cohorts of patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia to enrich pre-existing resources in the NIMH Genetics Repository and apply genomic research paradigms to further our understanding of the molecular etiology of these disorders.
The year 2007 has been an exciting time for the study of the genetics of complex traits in general, and mental disorders in particular, due to the development of genomics-related research tools. Revolutionary improvements in genotyping technologies have made the large-scale analysis of whole genome data and their association with complex human diseases possible for the first time. Mental disorders have been the focus of several of these Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) involving thousands of cases and controls. There is cautious optimism that these studies will identify a number of genetic polymorphisms critical to the development of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; nevertheless, studies in different disease areas have shown that determining the contribution of common alleles to the genetics of complex disorders, requires much larger, more carefully phenotyped cohorts. The intent of this initiative is to enrich pre-existing resources for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the NIMH Human Genetics Initiative and to apply genomic and related research tools to uncover the molecular bases of these disorders. A major focus of this initiative will be the collection of large patient cohorts in the U.S. and around the globe. Study designs using case-control, parent-offspring approaches, nuclear families, or a combination thereof may be supported. All biomaterials, phenotypes and other data collected and generated through this initiative will augment pre-existing resources in the NIMH Human Genetics Initiative for genetic analyses by the wider scientific community.