This month's The Genomics Landscape features stories about the expansion of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) program, mouse knockouts and the "druggable" genome, the full ancestry data the Genome-Wide Association Study Catalog is releasing and all the latest news, funding opportunities and genomics research from NHGRI. There's also a reminder about the My Family Health Portrait tool, a place to share health information and learn about familial health conditions.
Through a simple blood test, physicians will soon be able to map the fetus' entire collection of genes (the whole genome) using fetal DNA that floats in the mother's blood. But a survey of 1,000 physicians says that ethical guidelines must be developed first. Researchers with the National Human Genome Research Institute published their findings in the December 6th issue of the journal Prenatal Diagnosis.
In 2010, the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and the United Kingdom's Wellcome Trust, in partnership with the African Society of Human Genetics, introduced the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) program to support African scientists conducting research on the genetic and environmental factors of disease. Five years after the program's first grants were awarded, researchers are building collaborative research networks and making discoveries about genetics and human health.
The Undiagnosed Diseases Network, an NIH Common Fund program aimed at solving challenging medical mysteries, isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The program has just approved funding through 2022. With this investment, the UDN will continue to accept participants with undiagnosed conditions and hopes to better understand how to become self-sustaining in the future. Funding announcements are planned for Summer 2017, pending available funds.
About half of a man's risk for developing prostate cancer arises from malfunctioning genetic variants that are inherited. Finding those variants is challenging, in part because each variant makes a modest contribution to disease risk. By examining the whole exomes - the 1-2 percent of the genome containing protein-coding genes - of 75 high-risk families, NHGRI researchers identified three new variants that increase a man's risk for developing prostate cancer. The findings were published Nov. 26 in Oncotarget.