The new project aims to create one of the world's largest integrated genetic variation catalogues. Once created, it will offer researchers valuable information in the battle against disorders, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. With a price tag of 12 million, the Genotype-To-Phenotype Databases, or 'GEN2PHEN' for short, will be led by Professor Anthony Brookes at the University of Leicester, UK. The project involves 17 leading European research institutes, and another two from India and South Africa.
As Professor Anthony Brookes explains: "Technologies for the exploration of genetic variation in common disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune states, have only been devised the last few years, with widespread deployment only now happening. An unprecedented torrent of exciting, valuable, and important research observations is therefore now arriving, and yet there is no universal Internet-ready system able to receive all these data, to store and combine them, and to make them available for researchers and doctors alike to evaluate and exploit."
The GEN2PHEN project plans to orchestrate the international electronic collection and use of data that show how gene sequences contribute to inter-individual differences in disease, drug response, and other characteristics such as phenotypes. These relationships are deemed essential for future prognosis, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
GEN2PHEN will build a set of database components, tools and technologies that will help all research results pertaining to genome variation and disease to be properly integrated and immediately available for holistic analysis via the Internet. The project will deploy a major Internet portal, the 'GEN2PHEN Knowledge Centre', which will prominently profile the solutions generated by the project and set these in the context of powerful search capabilities for genotype-phenotype data and the very latest expertise on genotype-phenotype databases.
"The various GEN2PHEN project members bring with them deep connections into the few other major international projects in this area," commented Professor Brookes. "This promises globally-coordinated progress over the next few years towards far more comprehensive, useful, and accessible knowledge regarding the genetic basis of human existence. The medical and societal benefits from all of this should be immense."
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