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Avestagenome Project Researchers Sequence Parsi Breast Cancer Genome

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Researchers from the India-based systems biology company Avesthagen and The Genome Analysis Centre in the UK announced today that they have finished sequencing the breast cancer genome from a Parsi individual.

Through a larger study of age-related conditions in India's Parsi minority population, known as the Avestagenome Project, the team used Life Technologies' SOLiD 4 platform to sequence the draft genome of breast tumor from a 74-year-old Parsi woman with an inherited form of breast cancer. In conjunction with other cancer genomes to be sequenced down the road, the work is expected to provide insights into some of the genetic changes coinciding with breast cancer in individuals from this population — and offer clues for diagnosing and treating the disease.

"With the Avestagenome Project as driver, Avesthagen intends to become the world leader in the development of new cancer diagnostics and drugs and, and ultimately, the development of personalized healthcare," Avesthagen Founder, Chairperson and Managing Director Villoo Morawala-Patell said in a statement.

Although Parsi populations in India and elsewhere are known to have unusual longevity, the team noted, they also tend to be particularly prone to breast cancer and other diseases.

In an effort to pinpoint the reason for such patterns, members of the Avestagenome Project are using genome sequencing to identify and compare genetic patterns both between Parsi individuals and between Parsis and other populations.

For the current project, collaborators at TGAC sequenced the woman's tumor sample, while researchers at Avesthagen are working on the sequence analysis and other bioinformatic aspects of the project.

The team ultimately plans to bring together their whole-genome breast cancer data with results from additional samples in the same population and with information gleaned through similar studies done in other parts of the world.

In addition, Avesthagen is reportedly working on studies aimed at learning more about the genetics underlying other conditions, such as diabetes and neurological disorders.

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