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Wellcome Trust Launches Effort to Sequence 10,000 Human Genomes

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Wellcome Trust announced today that is undertaking a three-year project to sequence whole genomes or exomes from 10,000 individuals in the UK with an eye towards finding genetic variants — including rare variants — involved in disease.

Through the UK10K project, the team plans to do whole-genome sequencing of 4,000 individuals characterized for specific traits and diseases through the Twins UK and Avon Longitudinal Study of Parent and Children studies, along with exome sequencing for 6,000 individuals who have extreme phenotypes for conditions or traits such as obesity, autism, schizophrenia, and congenital heart disease.

"The involvement of clinicians, researchers and, most importantly, the thousands of people who have donated DNA samples, will help us to correlate genetic variation with individual variation in health and disease, and help to deliver on the long-term promise of the human genome project," Wellcome Trust Director Mark Walport said in a statement.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has reportedly secured a £10.5 million ($15.7 million) award to support the project, which is being done in collaboration with clinical researchers in the UK.

"With this award, we are seizing the chance to use technological advances in DNA sequencing to find variants that have even greater consequence for health," principal investigator Richard Durbin, a bioinformatics researcher with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a statement.