Supplementary Material for: The Gene-Environment Interactions in Respiratory Diseases (GEIRD) Project

The role of genetic and environmental factors, as well as their interaction, in the natural history of asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is largely unknown. This is mainly due to the lack of large-scale analytical epidemiological/genetic studies aimed at investigating these 3 respiratory conditions simultaneously. The GEIRD project is a collaborative initiative designed to collect information on biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, individual and ecological exposures, diet, early-life factors, smoking habits, genetic traits and medication use in large and accurately defined series of asthma, allergic rhinitis and COPD phenotypes. It is a population-based multicase-control design, where cases and controls are identified through a 2-stage screening process (postal questionnaire and clinical examination) in pre-existing cohorts or new samples of subjects. It is aimed at elucidating the role that modifiable and genetic factors play in the occurrence, persistence, severity and control of inflammatory airway diseases, by way of the establishment of a historical multicentre standardized databank of phenotypes, contributed by and openly available to international epidemiologists. Researchers conducting population-based surveys with standardized methods may contribute to the public-domain case-control database, and use the resulting increased power to answer their own scientific questions.