Context: A group of Indian scientists and companies are involved with a 100k Genome Asia project, led out of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, to sequence the whole genomes of 100k Asians, including 50,000 Indians.

About 100k Genome Asia Project:

  • A non-profit consortium called GenomeAsia 100K has announced an ambitious plan to sequence 100,000 Asian individuals in hopes of accelerating precision medicine applications for Asian populations.
  • It will also leverage on big data analytics and advances in data science and artificial intelligence. Participants from 12 South Asian countries and at least seven North and East Asian countries will be selected.
  • In the first phase, the project will focus on creating phased reference genomes for all major Asian ethnic groups—representing a major step forward in understanding the population history and substructure of the region.
  • The sequencing of 100,000 individual genomes will be paired with microbiome, clinical and phenotype information to allow deeper analysis of diseased and healthy individuals in the context of inferred local ancestries.

Significance:

With recent insights into the genome diversity of Asian ethnicities, it will become possible to understand the biology of disease in the currently under-studied Asian populations that represent 40 percent of humankind.

Furthermore, the unique genetic diversity prevalent in South, North and East Asia provides a valuable source of clinical insights that should enhance our understanding of several rare and inherited diseases, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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