Skip to Main Content
Portraits of diverse people

Exploring How Your Genes Interact with the Environment

The Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR) is a long-term research project to collect and store DNA from up to 20,000 North Carolinians in a biobank. The DNA samples are available to scientists to study variations in genes (known as polymorphisms) that might be linked to common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma and others. While many types of genes are studied as part of the EPR, the focus is on a category known as "environmental response genes." These are genes that may increase the risk of human disease when combined with environmental exposures. Alternatively, "environmental response genes" may also decrease disease risk by protecting individuals after environmental exposures.

The EPR is unique in that it is a "linked" DNA registry. DNA samples are coded with personal identification numbers (PINs) that are linked back to registrants' identities and contact information. This gives scientists the ability to ask registrants to come back and participate in a wide variety of voluntary follow-up studies based on their genetic profiles.

Learn more about the EPR and how we protect our registrants' privacy.

The EPR is sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The EPR is designed to help researchers develop new and better ways of diagnosing, preventing and treating common diseases both in individual patients and whole populations.

Donate Your DNA!

Requirements for Participation

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Provide a small blood sample (approx. 1 tablespoon)
  • Read and sign an informed consent form
  • Provide date of birth, gender, race and ethnicity
  • Periodically update contact information


The NIEHS is pleased to announce the availability of a repository of DNA samples collected as part of the Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR). The EPR is an ongoing DNA repository established by the Clinical Research Branch to help NIEHS and other scientists screen for genetic polymorphisms in "environmentally sensitive genes."

Portraits of diverse people


Last Reviewed: March 06, 2017

Back to Top