UK Launches Project to Conduct Whole-Genome Sequencing of 500,000 Genomes Accumulated in UK BioBank; Work May Provide Increased Understanding of Diseases That May Fuel Development of New Treatments and Enable Possible Cures

A new ground-breaking project in the fight against life-threatening illnesses was launched on September 11, 2019 by the UK. The £200 million (~250 million) whole-genome sequencing project is being created, forming a partnership of pharmaceutical firms and health experts that will examine and sequence the genetic code of approximately 500,000 volunteers at the UK Biobank, based in Stockport, UK. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Britain has a proud history of putting itself at the heart of international collaboration and discovery. Over 60 years ago, we saw the discovery of DNA in Cambridge by a team of international researchers and today we are going even further. Now, we are bringing together experts from around the globe to work in the UK on the world’s largest genetics research project, set to help us better treat life-threatening illnesses and ultimately save lives. Breakthroughs of this kind wouldn’t be possible without being open to the brightest and the best from across the globe to study and work in the UK. That’s why we’re unveiling a new route for international students to unlock their potential and start their careers in the UK.” Genomics research has the potential to create a genuinely predictive, more personalized healthcare system and the UK has a clear desire to seize the opportunities that research in this area offers, which is why the government has committed to carrying out five million analyses of DNA by 2024. The new project aims to improve health through genetic research, improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses including cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia.
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