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Toolkit Designed to Expand Resources for Genomic Research

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 28 Aug 2013
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Image: The PhenX toolkit homepage. Use of PhenX toolkit measures helps researchers understand the relationships between genetics, health, disease, and environment (Photo courtesy of PhenX Toolkit, RTI).
Image: The PhenX toolkit homepage. Use of PhenX toolkit measures helps researchers understand the relationships between genetics, health, disease, and environment (Photo courtesy of PhenX Toolkit, RTI).
Use of a new genotype/phenotype resource should help researchers better determine the links between genetics, disease, health, and the environment.

As part of a new award from the US National Human Genome Research Institute (Bethesda, MD, USA), RTI International (Research Triangle Park, NC, USA) will expand the PhenX Toolkit, a web-based resource that supports collaborative genomics and biomedical research.

The goals of the four-year, USD 5.3 million award, the genomic resource grant for PhenX Toolkit include updating and expanding the Toolkit, integrating Chinese and Spanish translations of PhenX protocols and mapping PhenX variables to all completed studies in the database of genotypes and phenotypes (dbGaP).

“This award gives the PhenX team the opportunity to address the evolving needs of the scientific community by enhancing the content and features of the Toolkit,” said Carol M. Hamilton, PhD, director of bioinformatics at RTI and PhenX lead investigator. “The use of PhenX measures increases the opportunities for researchers to combine or compare their findings, thus increasing the impact of each individual study.”

The PhenX Toolkit, a web-based catalog of 339 well-established measures of phenotypes and exposures, combines data from a range of research and allows investigators to enlarge a study design beyond the basic research focus. Enhancements to PhenX measurements will increase the overall impact of individual studies by making it easier to compare and combine data.

“The PhenX Toolkit is a great resource for investigators who would like to strategically expand their study design by adding a few standard measures,” Dr. Hamilton said. “Because common, complex diseases share many risk factors, identification of these factors increases with the use of common measures in research studies.”

PhenX is driven by the scientific community and decisions are reached using an established consensus process. Since 2007, the RTI-led PhenX project has engaged working groups of experts to select high-priority measures and a steering committee to provide guidance and policymaking decisions.

The PhenX Toolkit currently has more than 1,100 registered users and is publically available at no cost online (please see Related Links below).

Related Links:

RTI International
PhenX Toolkit

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