, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 525-529
Date: 11 Jul 2010

Genome-wide association studies and large-scale collaborations in epidemiology

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In 1989–1990, investigators recruited 5,201 subjects from four US sites to the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) [1]. The purpose was to evaluate risk factors for clinical and subclinical disease in adults aged 65 or older. With the recruitment of an additional 687 African Americans in 1992–1993 and annual clinic visits through 1999, CHS was adequately powered to address the study’s primary aims. In the US, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study had a similar design and recruited about 16,000 middle-aged adults from four US sites [2], and the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study included 5,116 subjects aged 18–30 years [3]. Historically, collaboration with the older Framingham Heart Study (FHS) [4], the European Rotterdam Study (RS) [5] or even among the three major US cohorts launched in the 1980s occurred only rarely [6, 7].

The technological innovations that made genome-wide association studies (GWAS) possible have changed the epidemiological