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A new reference panel to boost African American genotype imputation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R44HG009460-01
Agency Tracking Number: R44HG009460
Amount: $1,758,557.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 172
Solicitation Number: PAR14-088
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-09-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-08-31
Small Business Information
Mountain View, CA 94043-1318
United States
DUNS: 780119710
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (718) 678-1150
Business Contact
Phone: (650) 933-9444
Research Institution

Project Summary

Modern genetic studies have been conducted predominantly in cohorts of individuals of European
ancestry By there were approximately ten times as many published genome wide association
studies GWAS in people of European ancestry than studies in people of all other ancestries combined
This research disparity has led to an uneven understanding of the genetic basis underlying disease in
Europeans and non Europeans
andMeandapos s web based large scale research model is ideal for scaling genetics research within
non European populations and thereby bringing more parity to genetics research Our database is
composed of genotypes and phenotypes of over consenting customers including over
individuals with non European ancestry The data derived from non European individuals represent a
particularly valuable resource for genetic discovery of novel variants that may not be found in the European
population However research studies in non European populations are weakened by the lack of
availability of large scale reference datasets and in particular genotype imputation panels
Genotype imputation is a statistical methodology that uses observations of genotypes in a large reference
panel to infer unobserved genotypes in a target dataset This methodology is widely used within GWAS
and allows novel genetic associations to be identified and refined Due to this utility very large reference
panels have been constructed containing thousands or tens of thousands of whole genome sequences
Unfortunately the largest imputation panels are composed of predominantly European genomes reflecting
the modern bias towards European studies in GWAS
This proposal aims to address this imbalance by constructing an imputation panel specifically for the
African American population In doing so we will expand andMe s ability to perform genetic discovery in
non European populations and improve the understanding of global genetic variation underlying diseases
and traits Key commercial outcomes of the research include the identification of novel genetic targets for
internal and external therapeutic development The long term aim is to improve understanding of disease in
minority populations which we hope may eventually lead to improved treatments of disease in these
historically medically understudied groups

Project Narrative

Genome wide association studies have yielded many discoveries of genes associated with disease but the
vast majority of such studies have been conducted in European populations This proposal aims to
empower genetic research in non European populations by developing a reference dataset from targeted
DNA sequencing of the diversity contained within the andMe research participant database This study
will enable andMe and other researchers to better discover disease variants in individuals with
non European ancestry with a particular focus on African American populations

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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