Add Health: A Genotype and Phenotype Resource for the Global Scientific Community

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are an effective and increasingly affordable tool to investigate genetic contributions to human health. However, existing data are limited by homogeneity of samples, modest environmental data, and absence of longitudinal information. These limitations preclude a dynamic, multilevel integrative approach to health that captures bidirectional biological and contextual contributions and their interactions over time. Focusing on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent [to Adult] Health (Add Health), this gap is being addressed by complete genotyping of approximately 6,000 archived DNA samples using whole genome array technology. These data will be made available to the global scientific community, offering an unprecedented national resource of rich, longitudinal environmental data coupled with comprehensive phenotype and genotype data on more than 12,000 participants in the nationally representative, ethnically diverse Add Health sample. Add Health has archived DNA specimens for future research and is currently genotyping approximately 6,000 samples for GWAS. This project will complete genotyping on the entire sample, disseminate these data, and conduct preliminary GWAS. The three aims are: (1) Using the Illumina Omni1-Quad BeadChip (more than 1 million genetic markers), complete genotyping on the archived DNA, yielding a sample of 12,000; (2) Develop a national and global resource for the scientific community by collaborating with dbGaP to deposit Add Health genotype, phenotype, and environmental data; and (3) Conduct preliminary GWAS and explore gene by environment (GxE) interactions to identify biological and contextual contributions to phenotypes that are well defined in Add Health and with which the investigative team has substantive expertise, including obesity, substance use, and cardiovascular disease. Add Health sampled the multiple environments in which young people live their lives, including the family, peers, school, neighborhood, community, and relationship dyads, and provides independent and direct measurement of these environments over time. Add Health contains extensive longitudinal information on health-related behavior, including life histories of physical activity, involvement in risk behavior, substance use, sexual behavior, civic engagement, education, and multiple indicators of health status based on self-report (e.g., general health, chronic illness), direct measurement (e.g., overweight status and obesity), and biomarkers. No other data resource exists that has this expanse of genotype and phenotype data on a large nationally representative longitudinal sample with race, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity.

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Mullan Harris

CPC Fellow Investigators: Christy L. Avery , Guang Guo , Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Funding Source: NIH NICHD

Grant Number: R01HD073342

Funding Period: 7/24/2012 - 3/31/2017

Primary Research Area: Population Health

Affiliated Research Project:

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