Ireland’s first large-scale genomic study examining relationship between fitness and genetics
GMI has partnered with University College Dublin’s (UCD) Institute for Sport and Health to launch Ireland’s first large-scale research study into the role of genetics on fitness and health.
The GenoFit Research Study will be open to anyone aged 18 and older from the broader UCD Belfield campus community of approximately 30,000 people. This community includes undergraduate and postgraduate students along with academic, research, administrative and support staff. Residents from the local community who visit the Belfield campus for various activities (sports and recreational) will also be invited to participate in the study.
The study will combine advanced scientific technology in genomics, the study of all of a person’s genes, together with detailed lifestyle information to provide a comprehensive view of the potential genetic factors contributing to fitness and health.
A new clinic has been established in the UCD Institute for Sport and Health to conduct the study, which will be overseen by Professor Giuseppe De Vito, Head, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and Dean of Performance Science and Professor Colin Boreham, Director, UCD Institute for Sport and Health.
Recruitment of participants to the GenoFit Research Study is now underway on UCD’s Belfield campus and volunteers who agree to take part will be given the full results of a mini-health check, including a DEXA scan which evaluates bone and muscle health. Participants will be asked to give approximately one hour of their time to the study during which they will provide a blood sample, take a short fitness test and fill out a lifestyle questionnaire.
Professor Giuseppe De Vito, Head, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and Dean of Performance Science said: “This research partnership with Genomics Medicine Ireland gives us an unprecedented capability to examine and better understand the factors influencing human health and fitness. The study will use cutting edge technology in the genomics field which will enable researchers examine the relationship between genomics, fitness and health in far more comprehensive detail compared to previous studies. The identification of specific genetic factors that may protect an individual against the development of a particular health condition could allow the generation of targeted interventions to improve our health”.
Dr Sean Ennis, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Genomics Medicine Ireland and Director of UCD’s Academic Centre on Rare Diseases said: “It is well accepted that our health is influenced by a wide variety of factors such as age, nutrition, sleep quality and fitness as well as psychological and environmental factors. Our health, fitness and likelihood of developing certain diseases is also influenced by our genetics.
“Currently, we do not fully understand how much of a contribution each of these factors makes to our health and disease risk. The GenoFit study, in partnership with the UCD Institute for Sport and Health will allow us to gain a more detailed understanding of individual risk factors and how much of a role they play will help to develop and deliver more personalised health management”.
Dr Ennis added that Genomics Medicine Ireland will be examining the potential to expand the study to other university campuses around Ireland in the future.