A team from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, led by Dr. Goncalo Abecasis, the Felix E. Moore Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics, has developed a new method for identifying rare gene variants. Scientists believe these variants are more informative for human disease studies than the common variants that have been previously extensively researched. “Over the past two to three years, it has become increasingly possible to study rare genetic variation, and we developed a method that allows this to be done across studies, rather than one study at a time,” said Dr. Abecasis. To test their method, the Abecasis Lab studied blood lipid levels in more than 18,500 people, drawn from seven individual studies. Their approach confirmed the results of the individual studies and found additional loci associated with lipid levels in humans. These findings are reported in the current issue of Nature Genetics, and were supported by research grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Eye Institute, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.