The Environmental Polymorphism Registry (EPR) is a long-term research project to collect DNA samples from up to 20,000 individuals in the greater North Carolina Triangle Region. These will be available to scientists to look for genes that may be linked to common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma and many others. While many types of genes will be studied as part of the EPR, the focus will be on a group of genes known as the "environmental response genes." These are the genes that increase the risk of human disease when combined with some environmental exposure. Alternatively, the "environmental response genes" can also decrease disease risk by conferring a protective effect upon the individual when exposed.
The EPR is sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and is being conducted in collaboration with the University of North Carolina's General Clinical Research Center (http://verne.med.unc.edu/home.html) . The project will help researchers to develop new and better ways of screening populations, assessing health risks, and diagnosing, preventing and treating common diseases.