Given the major public health implications of identifying genes that contribute to the susceptibility for severe brain disorders, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has funded a Human Genetics Initiative. The goal of this Initiative is to study individuals affected with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or Alzheimer's disease and their relatives, in order to establish a national resource of clinical/diagnostic information and immortalized cell lines for DNA extraction. These data and biomaterials are distributed to qualified investigators in the wider scientific community, for use in research on the genetic basis of these disorders. The NIMH Human Genetics Initiative is supported by the Office of Human Genetics & Genomic Resources in NIMH's Division of Neuroscience & Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS).
Progress in scientific understanding is best achieved by the free and open exchange of knowledge, data, and ideas. The NIMH Human Genetics Initiative was founded on the principle that timely access to primary data and biomaterials for human genetic research may stimulate research and development and maximize the benefits afforded to individuals affected with these disorders and their family members. Progress in these efforts is paralleled by growing interest throughout the scientific community in having timely access to the information and resources that may speed the understanding of disease etiology, refinement of diagnostic systems, and development of novel therapeutic agents and preventive interventions.