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Application of genetics to the pathogenesis of common chronic conditions

43 months
Approved budget:
Professor Tony Merriman
Health issue:
Other (generic health or health services)
Proposal type:
Programme Extension
Lay summary
This Programme unites geneticists and clinical researchers in the study of common chronic diseases that together affect about 10% of New Zealanders. The projects take a genetic approach to understanding disease pathogenesis; an associated gene can be considered causative, directly implicating modifiable pathway(s) in initiation and maintenance of disease. Risk genes also provide an easily testable risk profile, and may provide clues to important, modifiable environmental risk factors and pharmaceutical factors for prevention. Four threads bind the projects: 1. Inflammation; some inflammatory genes and pathways will be common between diseases. 2. Clinical resources (healthy controls) are shared between projects, reducing duplication of effect. 3. The projects are all underpinned by the genetic approach to disease. In a practical sense this enables sharing of technology, expertise and analytical knowledge, for example copy number and miRNA analysis, common genes and development of genetic risk profiles. 4. In October 2008 we purchased BC|SNPmax phenotype-genotype data management software (, which has significantly enhanced our data management and analytical capabilities within the Programme.