The Genetic Epidemiology of Asthma in Costa Rica


Principal Investigator:
Christoph Lange, Associate Professor of Biostatistics


Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dates of Research:
April 1, 2007 — March 31, 2011


This project seeks to examine the genetic factors that influence the development of asthma in a minority group at high risk for the disease. To this end the study will concentrate on a genetically isolated Hispanic population with high asthma prevalence living in the Central valley of Costa Rica. To identify regions of the genome likely to contain genetic determinants of asthma and associated phenotypes in this population, the project will utilize a unique study design that entails collection of phenotypic and genotypic data on 15 large pedigrees multiplex for asthma (600 individuals) and 300 unrelated asthmatic children and their parents (900 individuals). A genome screen on these large pedigrees will be conducted as well as an analysis of asthma and seven intermediate phenotypes related to asthma. A genome screen will also be conducted in the parent-child trios, and ancestral haplotypes will be reconstructed to identify regions influencing asthma- associated phenotypes. By utilizing a unique study design with a large sample size in a genetically isolated population, we should be able to address an important but insufficiently studied problem; the genetic influences on the expression of the asthma phenotype in Hispanics. Thus, this project will greatly contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of a significant public health problem among Hispanic Americans: bronchial asthma.