An international consortium of researchers has sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 people, creating the largest catalog yet of human genetic variation.
Richard Wilson directs the Washington University Genome Institute, one of four major research institutions involved in the 1000 Genomes Project.
He says researchers identified rare genetic variants that may eventually explain why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.
“We would love to sequence the genomes of 1000 people with diabetes and 1000 people who come from similar ethnic groups but yet don’t have diabetes, right?” Wilson said. “And then to start to understand really what are the differences in everybody’s genomes that might underlie that disease.”
Wilson says over the course of the seven-year project, the researchers started to build a global infrastructure for sharing and analyzing genetic data.
“We didn’t know how to share huge amounts of DNA-sequence information,” Wilson said. “We really didn’t have the methods to do the deep analysis. So this has not only been doing a bunch of sequencing, but really understanding how to build a better infrastructure and build the tools we need to do that kind of analysis.”
The international project was funded in the U.S. by the National Institutes of Health and is published in the journal Nature.
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