Mankind took a major step today as an ambitious effort codenamed The 1000 Genomes Project involving sequencing the genomes of at least a thousand people from around the world was announced in England. The 1000 Genomes Project will create "the most detailed and medically useful picture to date of human genetic variation". Multidisciplinary research teams participating in the 1000 Genomes Project will develop a mapped view of biomedically relevant DNA variations "at a resolution unmatched by current resources". According to the official announcement data from The 1000 Genomes Project will be shared with the worldwide scientific community through freely accessible public databases.
The The 1000 Genomes Project is supported by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, the Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen (BGI Shenzhen) in China and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Richard Durbin, Ph.D., of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-chair of the consortium (in the above photo) explains why this was unthinkable only two years ago:
"The 1000 Genomes Project will examine the human genome at a level of detail that no one has done before. Such a project would have been unthinkable only two years ago. Today, thanks to amazing strides in sequencing technology, bioinformatics and population genomics, it is now within our grasp. So we are moving forward to build a tool that will greatly expand and further accelerate efforts to find more of the genetic factors involved in human health and disease."
NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. explains what are the new possibilities may be following this amazing breakthrough:
"This new project will increase the sensitivity of disease discovery efforts across the genome five-fold and within gene regions at least 10-fold. Our existing databases do a reasonably good job of cataloguing variations found in at least 10 percent of a population. By harnessing the power of new sequencing technologies and novel computational methods, we hope to give biomedical researchers a genome-wide map of variation down to the 1 percent level. This will change the way we carry out studies of genetic disease."
The 1000 Genomes Project