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Welcome to DICE

While an enormous number of genetic variants have been associated with risk for human disease, how these variants affect gene expression in various tissues and cell types remains largely unknown. To address this gap as it relates to immune cells, as well as to identify which immune cell types are most susceptible to effects of disease-risk variants, the DICE (Database of Immune Cell Expression, Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) and Epigenomics) project was established. In this first version of the database, we catalog genetic effects on gene expression in 8 distinct human immune cell types and activation conditions. Considering all cell types and conditions, we identified cis-eQTLs for a total of 9,686 unique genes, which represent 50% and 39% of all protein-coding genes and long non-coding RNAs expressed in these cell types, respectively. Strikingly, the vast majority of these genes showed a strong cis-association with genotype only in a specific cell type or following ex vivo activation, thus highlighting the value of studying purified and homogeneous cell types to identify which cells and genes are most susceptible to the effects of genetic variants. These datasets will help unravel the effects of disease risk-associated genetic polymorphisms on specific immune cell types.

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