French Genotyping Center to Help Thailand Identify SNPs for Malaria
Over the next three years, the French Centre National de Génotypage will help scientists in Thailand identify 300,000 SNPs linked to risk factors for malaria, HIV, and dengue hemorrhagic fever — all diseases prevalent in Thailand, according to the Pasteur Institute.
The CNG will sequence DNA from 32 healthy men and women and provide lab space and equipment to the Thai researchers. The Thai scientists, in turn, will try to identify SNPs from these people as well as from “hundreds” of Thais who have “common” diseases, and their healthy relatives.
The group will also search for SNPs linked to diabetes, lupus, and schizophrenia, as well as certain cancers, like nasopharyngeal tumors, that are especially prevalent among Thais.
Several genes have been implicated in the resistance to severe malaria, according to Cécile Julier, director of the Pasteur Institute, which is heading the Thai effort. “Our preliminary analyses showed that the heterozygous status for HbS variant is associated with a reduction of the number of malaria attacks, which therefore validates our approach” in Thailand.
The CNG, based in Evry, was created as a public interest group by the French Ministry of Research and New Technology. The center’s objectives are “to develop and apply genotyping and related genomic technologies, notably for the identification of genes associated with hereditary diseases.”
“The tools and know-how developed at CNG are open to outside groups for use in collaborative research programs, and also applied by the center for its own research into the genetic basis of hereditary diseases,” according to the CNG.
In 1998, the CNG took over the genomic activities of the Généthon, which performed genetic studies in France with help from the French Muscular Dystrophy Association. Four years later it became part of a new public interest group, the Consortium National de Recherche en Génomique (National Genomic Research Consortium).
Members of the CNRG include the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (the French health and medical institute), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (the agricultural research institute), the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, and France Innovation Scientifique et Transfert, the technology transfer wing of the CNRS.