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Funding News - Applications for Identifying Autism Susceptibility Genes Requested

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) requests applications for research to identify autism susceptibility genes. This announcement is made together with 4 other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Health Research Board, Ireland (HRB), the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC), Cure Autism Now (CAN), and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR).*

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with early childhood onset. A variety of research designs have been applied to enhance our understanding of the genetic basis of the disorder. However, autism's mode of inheritance is complex and no simple genetic model seems to fit its familial transmission. The purpose of this request for applications (RFA) is to support state-of-the-art research to identify specific genes and gene variants in localized chromosomal regions that present susceptibility to autism.

Areas of research interest include, but are not limited to: studies to identify specific genetic variants that influence risk to autism and lie within pre-existing candidate linkage regions; prioritizing candidate genes and the application of high-throughput approaches for characterization of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs); sequencing and resequencing candidate genomic regions and/or construction of comprehensive, high-density SNP linkage disequilibrium maps, when such resources are used in conjunction with tests of candidate SNPs and haplotypes for their association with autism; analysis of methylation patterns in CpG dinucleotides located in regulatory regions of genes where there appear to be epigenetic effects on gene expression in autism; identification and analysis in families of paternally/maternally expressed genes that are likely candidates for autism susceptibility genes; and in vitro and mouse (or other animal) studies that specifically explore the functional contribution of any susceptibility gene(s) identified by fine mapping activities in humans.
LETTERS OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE: March 19, 2005.
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: April 19, 2005.

For more information, potential applicants should contact Dr. Laura Mamounas, Program Director, Neurogenetics Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2132, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-5745; fax: 301-402-1501; e-mail: lm92t@nih.gov.

* For a full list of supporting NIH components and a more detailed description of this request for applications, please visit the NIH web site at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-MH-05-007.html.