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ADHD study to undergo Genome Analysis to find disorder's hereditary factors

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A research study on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD by Stephen V. Faraone, Ph.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University professor of psychiatry, has been selected as one of only six major studies of common diseases from all areas of medicine to undergo a whole genome association scan by the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN).

The GAIN award further emphasizes Faraone's ranking as one of the leading ADHD researchers in the world, which was recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information's rating of him as the third highest producer of high impact papers in psychiatry for the past decade, worldwide.

The GAIN scan will provide Faraone with comprehensive genetic information for 1,000 families having an ADHD child that he previously collected through a multi-site consortium in Europe and Israel with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. The genetic information provided by GAIN will allow Faraone and colleagues to identify genes that predispose people to develop ADHD. Such gene discoveries should speed up the development of new methods to prevent, diagnose, treat and even cure common conditions.

"GAIN is a critical first step in identifying the genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility and health, and it is essential to choose studies that offer the best possible potential to find these factors in common diseases," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH and chairman of the GAIN.

GAIN will pay for analyzing approximately 18,000 samples across the six diseases, using genotyping services over the next four to eight months. Genotyping uses standardized laboratory procedures to identify genetic variations between individuals. By comparing the frequency of genetic variants across all of the chromosomes in both affected and unaffected persons, researchers can pinpoint hereditary factors that contribute to illness. As DNA samples from each study are genotyped, the results will be made broadly available to the research community in keeping with the principles pioneered by the Human Genome Project.

The Genetic Association Information Network is a unique public-private partnership involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Pfizer Inc., of New York City, Affymetrix Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., and the FNIH, as well as Perlegen Sciences, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., Abbott, of Abbott Park, Ill., and the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. GAIN was established in this February to help find the genetic causes of common diseases by conducting large-scale genomic studies and making their results broadly available to researchers worldwide. Private donors have contributed approximately $26 million to the project in order to stimulate rapid progress in this field. Companies funding this partnership, however, will not receive any special benefits from GAIN, such as advanced access to the data.

In addition to Faraone's study, others included in the genome analysis scan are Collaborative Association Study of Psoriasis by the University of Michigan School of Public Health; Genome-Wide Association Study of Schizophrenia, Northwestern University; Whole Genome Association Study of Bipolar Disorder, University of California at San Diego; Major Depression: Stage 1 Genome-wide Association in Population-Based Samples, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Search for Susceptibility Genes for Diabetic Nephropathy in Type 1 Diabetes, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston.