Sci-tech Advances
China launches world’s largest genome-wide project

Chinese authorities on Thursday launched a four-year genome-wide project, which will map out Chinese people’s genome atlas by sequencing the genes of 100,000 individuals, in an effort to identify genetic basis of health disorders of Chinese.

“This is China’s first domestically designed genome-wide project, which is also the world’s largest. We will choose 100,000 Chinese individuals as our research subjects to map Chinese people’s genome variation. With a sequencing accuracy of 0.001, we can collect and analyze the genome data of Chinese people, in an effort to further promote the country’s medical and health work,” Wang Yadong, chief director of the project, told Xinhua.

According to Wang, the project will be divided into three stages, which will draw the genome map and health atlas of 10,000, 60,000, and 100,000 Chinese people, respectively. Wang also noted that in order to secure the safety of China’s genetic resources, all data and information will be collected and stored according to laws, and will be preserved confidentially.

It took over a decade and $2.7 billion to sequence the very first human genome, completed by the Human Genome Project in 2003. Ever since then, countries and scientific institutions have been making great efforts to explore the secrets of human genes, hoping to crack the cancer code.

China has jumped on the bandwagon, making remarkable achievements in genome-related areas in recent years. According to China News, authorities in the city of Nanjing, Jiangsu province, announced in October 2017 that they would sequence the genes of 1 million individuals to build a genetic database of Chinese residents.

(Source: People's Daily Online, January 05, 2018)