NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The European Commission is funding a €12 million ($17.5 million) project intended to wed genotype and phenotype data in an online catalogue, the University of Leicester announced this week.
Nineteen research institutions — most of them European — are participating in the international project, aimed at creating a database that relates genes to diseases. The Genotype-to-Phenotype Databases initiative, also known as GEN2PHEN, is expected to house the vast amounts of information gleaned from research into how gene sequences influence various phenotypes such as individual differences in disease manifestation and response to drug treatment.
In the past few years, available technologies have rapidly increased researchers’ knowledge of the genetic variation behind conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune states, organizers say. With GEN2PHEN, they plan to centralize this knowledge and, ultimately, they hope the database will aid future disease prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment.
“An unprecedented torrent of exciting, valuable, and important research observations is…now arriving, and yet there is no universal internet-ready system able to receive all these data, to store and combine them, and to make them available for researchers and doctors alike to evaluate and explore,” GEN2PHEN leader Anthony Brookes, a University of Leicester geneticist, said in a statement.
Brookes and others predict that the project will lead to “far more comprehensive, useful, and accessible knowledge regarding the genetic basis of human existence” within the next few years.