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Personal Genomes Project Begins Enrollment for PGP-100; Integrating Google's Personal Health Record Platform

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This article was originally published March 22.

Harvard Medical School's Personal Genomes Project has started enrolling participants for the PGP-100 phase of the study, and plans to increase enrollment later this year. The project is also currently integrating the Google Health personal health-record platform.

The PGP, led by Harvard Medical School professor George Church, was launched in 2007 with 10 participants, known as PGP-10. Long-term, it aims to sequence the genomes of 100,000 individuals and correlate their genotypes with phenotypic information.

Last year, the study organizers said they were going to scale up to 100 participants, a phase dubbed PGP-100, and said that sequencing their entire genomes, rather than just their exomes, would be an "increasingly viable option" (see In Sequence 10/20/2009).

In a newsletter published last week, PGP organizers said they have now started to enroll participants for the PGP-100. Over the next several months, they plan to collect tissue samples from "as many PGP-100 participants as possible" and to start posting data from them on the project's website "shortly." They also expect to begin enrollment for the next phase of the project, PGP-1000, later this year.

Under a recently awarded research grant from Google, Church's lab will also integrate the Google Health personal health-record platform into the PGP, a project expected to be completed by this summer.

This will allow participants "to more easily and accurately share, monitor, and update their basic health data with the PGP, should they choose to do so," according to the organizers. "We're looking forward to working with the PGP participants to discover how they utilize tools like the Google Health PHR to manage their health data and, ultimately, improve their own health outcomes."

In addition, the PGP said it is going to update its consent forms and study protocols as part of an annual review of the study, based on recommendations from Harvard Medical School's Institutional Review Board and user feedback. The project is also organizing a meeting in Boston next month, called the "Genomes, Environments, Traits Conference." There, individuals who had their genomes sequenced will "share their experiences" and "discuss the important ways in which personal genomes will affect key aspects of our lives."

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