SHENZHEN, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese, U.S. and
British scientists on Tuesday launched the 1000 Genomes Project, with the aim to
promote research on human diseases.
The project will involve sequencing the genomes of at
least a thousand people from around the world to create the most detailed and
medically useful picture to date of human genetic variation.
It will receive major support from the Wellcome Trust
Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI)
Shenzhen, China and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part
of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Drawing on the expertise of multidisciplinary
research teams, the 1000 Genomes Project will develop a new map of the human
genome that will provide a view of biomedically relevant DNA variations at a
resolution unmatched by current resources.
Using the map, scientists will work out detail
information on genome containing genetic variants that are associated with risk
of common human diseases, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, prostate
and breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and
age-related macular degeneration.
The new map would enable researchers to more quickly
zero in on disease-related genetic variants, speeding efforts to use genetic
information to develop new strategies for diagnosing, treating and preventing
The scientific goals of the 1000 Genomes Project are
to produce a catalog of variants that are present at 1 percent or greater
frequency in the human population across most the genome, and down to 0.5
percent or lower within genes. This will likely entail sequencing the genomes of
at least 1,000 people.
These people will be anonymous and among the
populations whose DNA will be sequenced in the 1000 Genomes Project include
Yoruba in Ibadan, Nigeria; Japanese in Tokyo; Chinese in Beijing; Toscani in
Italy; Gujarati Indians in Houston; and people of African ancestry in the
southwestern United States.
"At 6 trillion DNA bases, the project will generate
60-fold more sequence data over its three-year course than have been deposited
into public DNA databases over the past 25 years," said Gil McVean, Ph.D., of
the University of Oxford in England, one of the co-chairs of the consortium's
"This project reinforces our commitment to transform
genomic information into tools that medical research can use to understand
common disease," said Jun Wang, associate director of BGI.
"It will benefit all nations by creating a valuable
resource for researchers around the globe," he added.