The goal of the NIMH Human Genetics Initiative (HGI) is to further understand the genetic and environmental etiologies of mental disorders. One of the major mechanisms for accomplishing this goal is the NIMH Center for Collaborative Genomics Research on Mental Disorders (the """"""""Center""""""""), which receives raw biosamples such as blood from NIMH PIs. The Center processes samples to DNA, RNA, cDNA or cell lines, which can then be submitted for genomic analyses. Along with biosamples the Center receives clinical/phenotypic data for each subject and, eventually, the results of genomic analyses. After a proprietary period, the clinical data, genomic data, DNA, RNA, cDNA and cell lines are made available to all NIMH-approved researchers through a. secure web site. This sharing of uniformly processed biological samples and clinical and genomic data from many cohorts leverages the NIMH investment in a large number of HGI grants. It provides critical research power by providing a large body of data applicable to investigations on the genetic bases for individual mental disorders. Since October 1998, >147,000 subject samples have been submitted and the Center has distributed >310,000 DNA samples and >9,000 cell lines. There have been >450 distributions of clinical and genotype data to ~340 investigators and >260 publications using these samples and data. Starting in 2011 the Center provided cell line banking and characterization services for induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and their progenitor somatic cells. The Center also develops novel bioinformatics and computational genomics tools and methodologies designed to integrate and analyze large, independent sets of genotypic and phenotypic data while resolving phenotype and/or genotype discrepancies in datasets. As its guiding aim, the Center will continue to innovate in order to serve the scientific needs of NIMH PIs in a flexible and highly accessible manner, while respecting subject confidentiality, informed consent issues and PI prerogatives.
The Center provides research the resources that will enable researchers to pinpoint the genetic causes of mental disorders. Understanding the genetics of mental disorders will likely result in new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
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