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Genomic Variation Program

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Genomic Variation Program Overview

About 99.5 percent of a person's DNA is the same as any unrelated person's DNA. Differences in the sequence of DNA among individuals are called genetic variation.  Genomic variation explains some of the differences among people, such as eye color and blood group, as well as whether a person has a higher or lower risk for getting particular diseases. Variants in single genes cause some traits and diseases, such as the ABO blood group and cystic fibrosis.  Complex interactions among multiple genes and the environment cause common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, arthritis, and asthma.

Currently, about 99 percent of variants with a frequency of 1 percent or higher have been found, with a false detection rate of 5 percent.  About 96 percent of the genome can be studied with high confidence.  More than 80 million variant sites in the genome have been found so far, including single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), insertions and deletions (indels), and other structural variants; these variants have been put onto haplotypes (phased), showing which variants at nearby sites are on the same chromosome.  The program also seeks to relate there genetic variants to functional variation and phenotype.

The Genomic Variation Program supports large-scale studies of human genetic variation as part of projects such as the International HapMap Project and the 1000 Genomes Project.  The program supports many studies developing data analysis methods for how to relate variation to traits, diseases, and responses to drugs and environmental factors, such as association and admixture approaches, and how to use patterns of variation to infer demographic history, selection, and other population genetic processes.  The program also works with other programs to support experimental and analysis development studies and databases relating variation to differences in gene function and regulation and to clinical effects. 

The Genomic Variation Program supports research aimed at:

  • Discovering and typing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), indels, and other forms of genetic variation on a large scale across the genome.
  • Developing high-resolution maps of genetic variation and haplotypes.
  • Developing methods for the large-scale experimental and statistical analysis of SNPs, other forms of genetic variation, haplotypes, and complex traits.
  • Developing statistical methods to relate genetic variation to phenotypes, disease, and function.

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Information Related to the Genomic Variation Program

Non-Coding Variants Program (NoVa)

1000 Genomes: A Deep Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

An integrated map of genetic variation from 1,092 human genomes. 1000 Genomes Project Consortium (2012). Nature 491:56-65.

International HapMap Project

A haplotype map of the human genome. The International HapMap Consortium (2005). Nature 437: 1299-1320.

Databases for Variants:


  • SNPs and Small Indels: dbSNP
  • Structural Variants: dbVar
  • Clinical and Phenotypic Information on Variants: ClinVar


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Meeting Reports Related to the Genomic Variation Program

July 28-29, 2014: Future Opportunities for Genome Sequencing and Beyond: A Planning Workshop for the National Human Genome Research Institute

June 5-6, 2012: Workshop on Establishing a Central Resource of Data from Genome Sequencing Projects

August 3-4, 2004: Executive Summary: Workshop on Characterizing Human Genetic Variation

July 18-19, 2001: Developing a Haplotype Map of the Human Genome for Finding Genes Related to Health and Disease

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Genomic Variation Program Funding Opportunities

PA-18-489 []: NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Expiration Date: January 8, 2021

PA-18-484 []: NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Expiration Date: January 8, 2021

PAR-17-273 []: Genomic Community Resource (U24)
Application Due Date(s): July 13, 2017, January 25, 2018, May 25, 2018, September 25, 2018, January 25, 2018, May 25, 2018, September 25, 2018, January 25, 2019, May 25, 2019, September 25, 2019, January 25, 2020
Expiration Date: January 26, 2020

Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS):

  • PAR-14-195 []: Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) (RM1)
    Application Receipt Date(s): July 2, 2014; May 20, 2015; May 20, 2016
    Expiration Date: May 21, 2016
    • NOT-HG-14-032 []: Notice of Change to PAR-14-195 Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) (RM1)
    • NOT-HG-14-031 []: Notice of Correction to Foreign Components for PAR-14-195 "Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) (RM1) 
  • Small Business Funding Opportunities []: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program information.
  • PA-14-071 []: PHS 2014-02 Omnibus Solicitation of the NIH, CDC, FDA and ACF for Small Business Innovation Research Grant Applications (Parent SBIR [R43/R44])
    Application Due Date(s): April 5, August 5, December 5
    Expiration Date: January 8, 2015

Expired Grant Solicitations:

  • RFA-HG-13-013: Interpreting Variation in Human Non-Coding Genomic Regions Using Computational Approaches and Experimental Assessment (R01)
  • RFA-HG-09-002: 1000 Genomes Project Data Processing (U01) [Expired June 27, 2009]
  • RFA-HG-09-001: 1000 Genomes Project Data Processing (U01) [Expired January 13, 2009]
  • RFA HG-04-005: Additional Genotyping for the Human Haplotype Map [Expired: June 26, 2004]
  • Special Requirements for RFA HG-04-05
  • RFA HG-02-005: Large Scale Genotyping for the Haplotype Map of the Human Genome [Expired]

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Genomic Variation Program Staff

Program Directors

Lisa D. Brooks, Ph.D.

Erin M. Ramos, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Jennifer L. Troyer, Ph.D.


National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
5635 Fishers Lane
Suite 4076, MSC 9305
Bethesda, MD 20892-9305
Phone: (301) 496-7531
Fax: (301) 480-2770


Last Updated: June 3, 2015

See Also:

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