The Environmental Genome Project

Phase I and Beyond

  1. Samuel H. Wilson and
  2. Kenneth Olden
  1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 111 T.W. Alexander Drive Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2233
  1. Address correspondence to SHW. E-mail wilson5{at}; fax 919-541-3592.


Human illness is caused by many interrelated factors including aging, inherited genetic predispositions, and a variety of environmental exposures. There is increasing awareness of the role of genetics as a factor that can dramatically alter susceptibility to all disease, especially environmentally induced chronic disease, such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. In some cases, a genetic factor influences disease susceptibility in a small fraction of the population because it occurs at a low frequency or involves a relatively low-incidence disease; however, in other cases, a genetic factor increases susceptibility in a large number of individuals and involves a disease that occurs at high incidence, creating a large public health burden.


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