What we are trying to do:
DNA methylation is a molecular marker that attaches to DNA and helps to control how genes are turned on and off (gene expression). Differences in DNA methylation patterns are associated with a range of measures of health and disease. We believe that we can find new ways to understand health and disease by looking at how genetics and the environment affect DNA methylation across the human population.
By studying people living around the world, we can understand how diverse genetics and environment affect DNA methylation. We know that some diseases affect people living in different global regions in different ways. By understanding mechanisms of variation in DNA methylation and how this is associated with health and disease, we can work on strategies to make healthcare more equal for everyone.
How we will do it:
We will work collaboratively with our partners who have collected data on DNA methylation, genetics and measures of health and disease on individuals living around the world. We will focus our efforts on child health and cardiovascular disease. Our work is divded into two aims and five objectives.
In this aim, we will study genetic and environmental determinants of DNA methylation variation between people. This will help us to understand the mechanisms of DNA methylation variability across the human population. This work follows on from the work in the GoDMC who mapped mQTLs (associations between genetic variants and DNA methylation) in cohorts recruited in Europe
Objective 1: Create a comprehensive mQTL resource reflecting geographic and genetic diversity
Objective 2: Define ancestry and local ancestry differences in DNAm
In this aim we will work to understand mechanisms of disease and disease discordance between geographical groups of people for childhood and cardiovascular related phenotypes. Identifying these factors will improve exposure and risk prediction in the global population leading to improved health.
Objective 3: Epigenome Wide Association Studies (EWAS) of cardiometabolic and child health phenotypes.
Objective 4: Improve disease and exposure prediction across diverse cohorts
How we operate
Objective 5: Form equitable partnerships
Objective 5 cuts through all the work we do. In this objective we aim to work equitably with all project partners.