Human Variome Project on Target to Collect All Genetic Data
For Immediate Release
Washington, 2 November — The Human Variome Project today announced that it had exceeded some very important milestones set out in its Project Roadmap 2010-2012 by officially partnering with consortiums to coordinate the collection of genetic data from four countries: China, Kuwait, Malaysia and Australia. “We are very happy to have formed these valuable partnerships so quickly after the release of our Project Roadmap,” said Professor Richard Cotton, the Project’s Scientific Director and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne, Australia.
“The consortiums from these four countries have initiated what we are calling HVP Country Nodes: secure repositories of all the genetic variants being discovered in the diagnostic laboratories of individual countries,” said Cotton.
HVP Country Nodes will not only be valuable sources of information to inform better diagnostic decisions and healthcare planning within the countries possessing nodes, but will also share portions of their datasets with international gene and disease specific databases.
“This is exactly the kind of work the Human Variome Project was conceived to support,” said Cotton, “The free and open sharing of genetic data across national and cultural boundaries. However, we still need to be sensitive to the different legal and ethical landscapes that are out there. That’s what makes the concept of HVP Country Nodes so powerful: each country gets to control how their data is collected and how it is shared.”
The Human Variome Project is an international consortium of clinicians geneticists and researchers from over 30 countries led by Professor Richard Cotton, a world renowned expert in the area of genetic variation detection and data collection.
In the past weeks the Project has also announced a significant contribution of funds towards the global coordination of its work via a A$2.5 million grant by the Victorian State Government in Australia. The support means that the Human Variome Project global Coordinating Office will be located in Melbourne Australia which is already one of the top five locations in the world for biotechnology.
The Human Variome Project is committed to reducing the burden of genetic disease on the world’s population by providing standards, systems and infrastructure for the sharing of information on all genetic variation (mutations) causing human disease. The free and open sharing of information on genetic variation and its consequences among scientists and within society allows treatments to be delivered more effectively to patients and new treatments and cures to be developed.
Earlier this year, Project participants met to discuss progress and plans at a meeting co-organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Paris, France. “The multidisciplinary nature of the Human Variome Project, which includes scientists and practitioners from different disciplines, allows for basic research findings to be accessible to and useful for clinicians and the people they serve,” said Walter Erdelen, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences.