Wednesday, 25 June 2014

National Children's Study stopped, waiting for revisions

One of the most ambitious project and one of the few attempts to really perform "personal genomics", is (or I may say was) the National Children's Study (NCS) sustained by NIH and the US government.

The project try to investigate the relation between genomics and environmental factors to define their impact on human life and define which advantages this kind of genomic screening could provide for the human health. The massive longitudinal project that would sequence the genomes of 100,000 US babies and collect loads of environmental, lifestyle, and medical data on them until the age of 21.
However the NIH director, Francis Collins, has recently announced that the project will be stopped waiting for a detailed review on the methodologies applied and the opportunity to complete it in its present form. Few key questions has to be addressed: Is the study actually feasible, particularly in light of budget constraints? If so, what changes need to be made? If not, are there other methods for answering the key research questions the study was designed to address?

As GenomeWeb reports, National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report saying the NCS needs some major changes to its design, management, and oversight.  The NAS recommendations include making some changes to the core hypotheses behind the study, beefing up scientific input and oversight, and enrolling the subjects during pregnancy, instead of at birth, as is the current plan.

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