Programs & Initiatives

Genotype Tissue Expression

The Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project

In 2010 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund launched the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project to help scientists understand how different genes might lead to certain types of diseases. NIH awarded the tissue procurement component of GTEx Project to NDRI. The following year, we partnered with organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and tissue banks across the country to collect more than 80,000 biospecimens, providing extensive phenotypic data for all samples.

By the end of the donor accrual phase of the project in 2015, NDRI TSS recovered tissues from 654 organ and tissue transplant donors. We collected as many as 32 tissue types from each donor, and each tissue was extensively genotyped. The data is accessible through a portal supported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

This vast collection effort required the expertise of multiple institutions, including:

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)

  • National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

  • Leidos

  • The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

  • The Van Andel Research Institute

  • University of Miami Brain Endowment Bank


"The quality of the RNA obtained by NDRI is extremely good and shows suprisingly little degradation due to the short post mortem intervals in which they are able to collect most donor tissues. This means that the RNA from most tissues collected qualifies for molecular analysis by RNA sequencing.”

- Kristin Ardlie, PhD, Director, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Learn more about GTEx

NDRI is a Not-For-Profit (501c3) Corporation.