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Project Sequencing 100 Canadians to Launch This Week

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A project aimed at sequencing the genomes of 100 Canadians in the next year will launch this week, the University of Toronto said today.

The project, called the Personal Genome Project Canada (PGP-C), is a collaboration with Harvard Medical School's Personal Genome Project. Combined, the two projects seek to sequence 100,000 individuals in the next decade in order to achieve greater clarity on the genetic variants involved in diseases.

The genetic information gleaned from the effort will be deposited in a public repository for use by researchers around the globe as control data.

The Canadian-Harvard collaboration has more than 2,100 volunteers currently enrolled with publicly available genomic and health information, including more than 100 whole genomes.

The sequenced genomes will provide researchers information about the genetic basis of diseases, including cancer and autism. Scientists developing software will be able to use the data to better analyze human genome sequence information as well, the University of Toronto said.

PGP-C will be run out of the University of Toronto's McLaughlin Centre. Other collaborators include Toronto's Medcan Clinic, the Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children, and Life Technologies.

PGP-C said it recently used Life Tech's Ion Proton desktop sequencer to do a whole-genome sequence of the first research participant, Jill Davies, a genetic counselor at the Medcan Clinic.

"It is estimated that we will need to decode 100,000 genomes worldwide to begin to make sense of those genetic variants that are involved in disease and those which protect us from it," Stephen Scherer, director of the McLaughlin Centre and the Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children, said in a statement. "Genome sequencing is entering mainstream medicine and we need to know from the Canadian perspective how to deal with the data from all aspects of the technology, information sciences, privacy, and health economic impact."

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