[KS] KOREAN GENETICS PROJECT @ COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
adam&eve at henny-savenije.demon.nl
Tue Sep 5 20:10:44 EDT 2000
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KOREAN GENETICS PROJECT @ COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
I am an assistant professor at Columbia University, who is one of the
co-organizers of the "Hanminjok Genome Project", an effort to study the
health of the Korean diaspora, looking jointly at genetic and environmental
factors and their impact on quantitative traits underlying general health.
At present we are focusing on families of ethnic Koreans in the US, South
Korea, and the former Soviet Union (Kazakhstan and Sakhalin). One component
of the project is also to look at the same traits in populations of Korean
adoptees living in Northern Europe - I
have a visiting position in Sweden, and we are preparing to do an
epidemiological survey based on the computerized health and family records
they have in the Nordic countries, where there are about 8500 adoptees.
Last month, I visited Seoul, and met with Lee Jong-Chul at the Jae-wae
dong-po jae-dan (Oversease Koreans Foundation), and he recommended that I
contact your organization for further information about the population of
adult adoptees in the USA (Our initial survey in each of the populations is
based on ascertainment of individuals between 25 and 30 years old, from
which we hope to expand to look at family members - in the case of adoptees
we would hope to be able to look at their nonbiological relatives, because
of the focus on gene-environment interaction in most of the variables we
are planning to study.
We think the results of this project (which is being planned as a long term
commitment to study health of the Korean community) will be of great
importance in several ways. First, because there have been so few studies
done of genetic epidemiology in Korean people (you know even in Korea, they
are doing "genetic testing" based on mutations identified in European
populations, without bothering to test the effect in Korean samples - when
we know that the health risk of most variants is extremely variable from
population to population), second because our focus is on gene-environment
interaction, we are looking at a more gestalt view of the etiology of
disease, not deluding ourselves into thinking that anyone ends up a certain
way purely as a result of either genes or environment - this is probably
something eminently clear to Korean adoptees, but nevertheless scientists
seem to not want to acknowledge this fact, because it makes it difficult to
find anything without careful attention to study design...
Anyway, that is enough rambling, but the point of this all is that we are
interested in working with the adopted Korean community in developing this
project, as an important but under-emphasized part of the Korean diaspora.
If you have any information that might help us, we would be grateful, and
if there is someone in your organization who might be interested to meet
with us sometime and discuss the project, and possibly serve as a
consultant, we would be interested to explore the opportunities to work
with your community.
Thank you very much for your help.
Joseph D. Terwilliger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (Statistical Genetics)
Columbia Genome Center
1150 St. Nicholas Ave, Room 520C
New York, NY 10032
Henny (Lee Hae Kang)
Feel free to visit
and feel the thrill of Hamel discovering Korea (1653-1666)
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