In the past decade, genome-wide association studies have found that the genetic architectures of most human complex diseases have a predominant influence of common variation. Many of these common disease risk variants are enriched in regulatory regions of the human genome. The ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project, Roadmap Epigenome Mapping Consortium (REMC), and Genotype-Tissue expression (GTEx) Project have found that active regulatory regions and non-coding transcripts are often cell- and tissue-specific. Most of these studies were performed using human cancer lines or normal cells from non-brain tissues, and thus do not provide the data necessary to evaluate the functional role of non-coding genomic variation for normal brain development and function, or in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders and neurological diseases.
The goal of the PsychENCODE project is to generate a public, comprehensive, and integrated resource of genomic, regulatory, epigenomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic landscapes in healthy and diseased developing and adult human brains, as well as in neural cell culture systems. Although the initial focus of psychENCODE will be on autism, mood disorders, and psychoses, the knowledge gained will be broadly applicable to the normal development of the central nervous system as well as to other human brain disorders.
The NIMH initial launched the PsychENCODE project in 2013 through a Request for Application. Since that time the project has expanded to include additional related projects.
Current PsychENCODE request for Application: