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BGI to Sequence Thousands of Genomes for Autism Speaks

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – BGI will sequence the genomes of 10,000 people who are participants in the Autism Speaks biobank and are members of families in which two or more children are on the autism spectrum.

Under the partnership, BGI plans to generate genome sequences of 2,000 families who are part of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and to collect and sequence genome samples from some individuals in China, BGI and Autism Speaks said today. The AGRE includes medical histories along with genetic materials and is the largest data resource for families with two or more children affected by autism.

The two-year collaboration, which aims to produce the largest library of sequenced genomes of individuals with autism spectrum disorders in the world, will begin with an initial pilot phase of 100 genomes.

"Piece by piece, we are discovering genetic mutations that can cause autism," Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson said in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is that the information we gain from whole-genome sequencing will contribute to the development of effective treatments to improve the lives of individuals affected by autism."

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