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European Sequencing Centers Form Genomic Standards Consortium

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of 17 genome sequencing and research labs will work together to define technological and ethical standards and to promote multidisciplinary training in genomics.

The Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, said today that the Genetic European Variation in Disease (GEUVADIS) project, funded under the European Commission, will include 17 research groups from Europe and the US.

The goal of the GEUVADIS project is to develop standards in several areas including quality control/assessment of sequence data; data storage, exchange, and access; handling, analysis, and interpretation of sequence data; biological and medical data interpretation; and the ethics of predicting phenotypes from sequence variation.

The consortium also will undertake pilot sequencing projects on medical samples using RNA and DNA sequencing. Analyzing these samples will enable the consortium to set up standards in operation procedures and biological and medical interpretation of sequence data and how it relates to clinical phenotypes.

Xavier Estivill, who coordinates the CRG's Genes and Disease Programme, said in a statement that the project to provide "a strong European framework that can be used to dissect the genetics of disease and to implement genomics responsibly in the medical setting."

"To fill the gap between the technological fascination and speed, and the responsible implementation of genome sequencing, it is crucial that scientists participate early in the analysis of the ethical and societal dimensions of their work," added Anne Cambon-Thomsen, who is director of research for the French National Center for Scientific Research.

The GEUVADIS collaborators include CRG; the University of Geneva; Helmholtz Center Munich; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; the National Genomic Research Center; Max Plank GeselleSchaft; Barcelona Scientific Parc; The University of Uppsala; Christian Albrechts University of Kiel; Johns Hopkins University; Illumina; Life Technologies' Applied Biosystems; the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM); The European Bioinformatics Institute; the University of Santiago de Compostela; Leiden University Medical Center; and Stichting Catholic University.

The project has received funding of €2 million under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for a project period of 36 months, which began this past October.