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The case for a US prospective cohort study of genes and environment


Information from the Human Genome Project will be vital for defining the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to health and disease. Well-designed case–control studies of people with and without a particular disease are essential for this, but rigorous and unbiased conclusions about the causes of diseases and their population-wide impact will require a representative population to be monitored over time (a prospective cohort study). The time is right for the United States to consider such a project.

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Appreciation is expressed for comments on the manuscript from J. Bailey-Wilson, W. Burke, M. Boehnke, B. Foxman, A. Guttmacher, E. Lander, T. Manolio, A. Wilson and E. Zerhouni. The opinions expressed in this Commentary are those of the author, and do not represent an official position of the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Collins, F. The case for a US prospective cohort study of genes and environment. Nature 429, 475–477 (2004).

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