Affymetrix Inc. has announced that the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN) will use the Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 for a series of studies designed to identify the genetic causes of common, complex diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Launched in February 2006, GAIN is a public-private medical research partnership between the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Pfizer Global Research and Development.
Given the recent advances in Affymetrix microarray technology, whole-genome association studies are proving to be an effective approach for discovering genes associated with common diseases.
GAIN researchers will use the Affymetrix technology to analyze 8,000 samples with a diverse range of ethnic origins. Because it includes many of the common genetic variations that extend beyond the International HapMap Project, the SNP Array 6.0 enables researchers to better detect the genes associated with many different complex diseases affecting multiple ethnicities.
"The GAIN partnership will help identify genetic factors that influence disease and speed the development of new methods to prevent, diagnose, treat and even cure common illnesses," said Charles Sanders, M.D., chairman of the board of the FNIH.
To help accelerate the development of new personalized tests and treatments, the information derived from GAIN will be made available to researchers around the world as part of the database of Genotype and Phenotype (dbGaP).
The dbGaP was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) for the purpose of archiving and distributing the results of genetic studies.
The Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 is a single microarray that simultaneously measures more than 1.8 million markers for genetic variation--close to three times the content of currently available competing products. The array enables researchers to perform the most powerful whole-genome association studies ever by genotyping more markers from more individuals.
These higher-powered studies increase the probability of discovering genes associated with adverse drug response or complex diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
"The GAIN project is another significant example of how whole-genome association studies are accelerating genetic discovery and shaping the future of medicine," said Kevin King, president of life sciences business and executive vice president at Affymetrix.
"Affymetrix created the market for whole-genome association products and we continue to set the standard for performance and price. GAIN's decision to use the new SNP Array 6.0 reaffirms our leadership position and commitment to providing our customers with the most advanced products on the market," Mr. King added.