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Fine Balance

While the newly announced £311 million investment in the UK's 100,000 Genomes Project may enable insights into health and disease, an editorial in the Observer notes that patient data must be protected for the project to be successful.

"Leaks will lead to a loss of faith among patients whose support for the project is crucial and will have to be prevented at all costs," it adds.

The project aims to sequence and analyze the genomes of 100,000 people by 2017, and Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week an infusion of $523 million into the effort, GenomeWeb Daily News reports. It also includes a partnership between Genomics England, the entity overseeing the project, and Illumina.

The Observer adds that the effort will also draw on the National Health Service patient data.

That, though, it says, means that privacy of that data must be preserved. "The new project will inevitably lead to a vast increase in amounts of patient data kept on computers," the editorial says. "Protecting that while still allowing companies some access so they can develop new drugs will not be easy. Yet it will be crucial to the success of the new project that this protection is ensured."