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New Venter Center Study Aims to Map 10K Human Genomes in 10 Years

SAN DIEGO (GenomeWeb News) — The J. Craig Venter Institute plans to launch a large-scale human genome sequencing study that aims to map approximately 10,000 genomes within the next decade, a JCVI scientist said this week.

Next year, JCVI scientists plan to sequence between 10 and 50 individuals and evaluate a number of next-generation sequencing technologies, which could include tools made by Applied Biosystems, 454 Life Sciences, Illumina, and George Church, Sam Levy, a senior JCVI scientist, told GenomeWeb Daily News during the Genomes, Medicine, and the Environment Conference in San Diego this week.

Following the publication of Venter’s genome in PLoS Biology last month, 200 volunteers had offered to have their genomes sequenced, Levy said.

The institute is currently establishing an informed-consent protocol and deciding who will make up the first group of individuals to be sequenced.

The aim is to make this initial batch “as diverse as possible,” Levy said, including men and women, different ethnicities, as well as people with common diseases.

JCVI will design the study with Scripps Genomic Medicine and will obtain clinical samples with help from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

JCVI is also exploring ways to pay for the study, including encouraging volunteers to subsidize two other genomes, to be chosen by JCVI, in addition to their own, according to an institute spokeswoman.

Levy said that the estimated cost for sequencing a human genome on Applied Biosystems’ new SOLiD platform, which the institute expects to receive shortly, is about $300,000 “at a coverage level they say is sufficient.” Half the cost comprises reagents while the other half includes labor, overhead, and analysis costs.

JCVI is currently working with ABI to generate an additional 12X of coverage of Venter’s genome on the SOLiD system. It is also planning to fill gaps in the genome by targeted sequencing of fosmids and BAC clones, using a combination of 454’s and Illumina’s sequencing platforms, and to corroborate insertions and deletions using Nimblegen tiling arrays, according to Levy.

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