The Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) is one of four networks in the NHLBI Family-Blood Pressure Program (FBPP). GENOA's long-term objective is to elucidate the genetics of target organ complications of hypertension, including both atherosclerotic and arteriolosclerotic complications involving the heart, brain, kidneys, and peripheral arteries. The longitudinal GENOA Study recruited European-American and African-American sibships with at least 2 individuals with clinically diagnosed essential hypertension before age 60 years. All other members of the sibship were invited to participate regardless of their hypertension status. Participants were diagnosed with hypertension if they had either 1) a previous clinical diagnosis of hypertension by a physician with current anti-hypertensive treatment, or 2) an average systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mm Hg based on the second and third readings at the time of their clinic visit.
The Family Blood Pressure Program (FBPP), GENOA's parent program, is an unprecedented collaboration to identify genes influencing blood pressure (BP) levels, hypertension, and its target-organ damage. This program has conducted over 21,000 physical examinations, assembled a shared database of several hundred BP and hypertension-related phenotypic measurements, completed genome-wide linkage analyses for BP, hypertension, and hypertension associated risk factors and complications, and published over 130 manuscripts on program findings. The FBPP emerged from what was initially funded as four independent networks of investigators (HyperGEN, GenNet, SAPPHIRe and GENOA) competing to identify genetic determinants of hypertension in multiple ethnic groups. Realizing the greater likelihood of success through collaboration, the investigators created a single confederation with program-wide and network-specific goals.