CAAPA Calendar

February 2016
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Asthma is a complex disease where the interplay between genetic factors and environmental exposures influences susceptibility and disease prognosis. Asthmatics of African descent tend to have more severe asthma and more severe clinical symptoms than individuals of European ancestry. Advances in genetic and genomic technologies have revolutionized gene discovery for several complex diseases, but going to the next step in gene discovery for asthma among populations of African descent requires considering unique characteristics of this ethnic group, including adequate sample sizes, population stratification due to (European and African) admixture, and perhaps most importantly, an approach that recognizes the current coverage of common genetic markers both in public databases and commercially available SNP chips has been inadequate to detect and measure genetic associations among African admixed populations.

In September, 2011, the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) received support from the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, to achieve two broad goals: Discovery of genes conferring risk to asthma among individuals of African ancestry catalog genetic diversity in populations of African descent, especially those whose ancestry reflects the African Diaspora in the Americas.

To achieve these goals, CAAPA investigators are integrating publicly available databases (i.e., 1000 Genomes Project, genomic and exomic sequence data generated as part of NIH-supported ARRA projects), with whole genome sequencing data, now being generated in the first phase of CAAPA on ~1,000 asthmatics and non-asthmatics, all of African ancestry, selected across North & South America, the Caribbean, and continental Africa, to represent a large spectrum of African ancestry.

In the second phase of CAAPA, we will develop a custom, gene-centric SNP genotyping array of up to 1M variants, appropriate for individuals of African descent to complement current, commercially available genomewide chips, which provide sub-optimal tagging of known genes among individuals of African descent. This “African Power Chip” will build upon GWAS studies in populations of African descent. Once developed, this SNP chip will be genotyped on >12,000 DNA samples representing African American and African Caribbean asthmatics and non-asthmatics. Genotype data from this SNP chip will be combined with existing GWAS data to test for association to identify candidate genes for asthma in populations of African descent. CAAPA involves a well-established group of experienced investigators, representing 10 national and 5 international academic institutions, with diverse but integrated areas of expertise.