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For Millions

China is pushing ahead with plans to sequence the genomes of one million of its citizens, the Wall Street Journal reports. It adds that China planning to realize that milestone by 2020, some two years before the US is expected to.

Though the Chinese government has committed some $9 billion for the effort, the Journal notes that it's moving ahead without some of the necessary infrastructure in place. For instance, it reports that researchers collecting the data haven't been told where to store it and instead are trying to eke out space on university servers.

By contrast, the Journal says US researchers are trying to have those solutions in place before embarking on wider sample collection and is also collecting additional lifestyle data from participants. It also adds that the US effort is putting mechanisms in place to share some results with research participants, while participants in China expect little in return for taking part.

The ultimate goal is to uncover mutations within the population that contribute to disease and develop personalized medicines, the Journal notes.

"It has the potential to place us at the frontier of modern medicine," Zhan Qimin, who helped develop China's initiative, tells the Journal.