By Malorye A. Branca
October 15, 2003 | The first bytes of data are flowing from the International HapMap consortium member labs onto the Web. While a temporary Web site has been live since August (see www.hapmap.org), a “smoother” version is being launched this month, according to Lisa Brooks, program director at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
The International HapMap Project was launched in October 2002 and should take three years to complete, at an estimated cost of $100 million. Both public and private organizations are involved. As with the Human Genome Project, the data from the project will be posted online as they are collected.
The project is considered a prime strategy to accelerate the discovery of complex disease genes and the development of diagnostic tests. By defining haplotypes, or blocks of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are typically inherited together, the amount of genotyping required to tease out the genes involved in these diseases is greatly reduced.
The project will utilize blood samples -- from 200-400 Yoruba Nigerians, Japanese, Chinese, and American subjects -- that will be stored at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, N.J.