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Largest genome sequencing project launched in UK

The UK Biobank, the world’s largest genetics project, will sequence 500,000 genetic samples, which will be available to researchers everywhere.

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The UK Biobank, the world’s largest genetics project, has been launched. The £200 million whole genome sequencing programme is a partnership between pharmaceutical firms and health experts.

The genetic code of 500,000 volunteers will be examined and sequenced. The data will be accessible to researchers globally, whether funded by academia or industry.

The new project aims to improve health through genetic research and to aid the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis and dementia.

The UK Biobank was established by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, Scottish Government and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.

The genetic code of 500,000 volunteers will be examined and sequenced”

UK Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “I am incredibly excited by the potential of genomics to change the way we think about disease and healthcare. In an ageing society with an increasing burden of chronic diseases, it is vital that we diagnose earlier, personalise treatment and, where possible, prevent diseases from occurring altogether.”

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