A grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute will enable RTI International to enhance genomic research through its no-cost PhenX Toolkit. 

The online suite of tools designed to boost collaborative work in genomics and biomedical research will be expanded to support Chinese and Spanish translations as part of the four-year project. RTI launched the web-based project in 2007.

“This award gives the PhenX team the opportunity to address the evolving needs of the scientific community by enhancing the content and features of the Toolkit,” said Carol Hamilton, who is director of bioinformatics at RTI and the PhenX principal investigator. “The use of PhenX measures increases the opportunities for researchers to combine or compare their findings, thus increasing the impact of each individual study.”

The tool suite is designed to help researchers better understand links between genetic, health, disease and environment.

PhenX already includes a catalog of 339 measures.

The top five domains include:

1. Demographics
2. Anthropometrics
3. Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances
4. Cardiovascular
5. Environmental Exposures

The top 20 measures in the latest release, which was posted in April:

1. Current Age
2. Gender
3. Ethnicity
4. Race
5. Weight
6. Height
7. Alcohol – 30-Day Quantity and Frequency
8. Tobacco – Smoking Status
9. Alcohol – Lifetime Use
10. Current Educational Attainment
11. Birthplace
12. Current Marital Status
13. Annual Family Income
14. Household Roster-Relationships
15. Current Address
16. Current Employment Status
17. Substances – Lifetime Use
18. Tobacco – 30-Day Quantity and Frequency
19. Tobacco – Age of Initiation of Use
20. Substances – 30-Day Frequency

“The PhenX Toolkit is a great resource for investigators who would like to strategically expand their study design by adding a few standard measures,” Hamilton said. “Because common, complex diseases share many risk factors, identification of these factors increases with the use of common measures in research studies.”

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