Biopharmaceutical titan AstraZeneca is planning to build a massive database of the human genome. With over two million entries, this genetic library would allow researchers to explore under-researched genes that may be linked to certain diseases. If the project is successful, the database would be the largest of its kind. By comparison, it was only a little more than half a year ago that the Wellcome Trust’s Sanger Institute’s UK10K project was considered the largest human genome database and it only contains 10,000 sequences.
Such an ambitious project comes with an appropriate price to match. While the exact number has yet to be disclosed, reports say that the price reaches well into the nine-digit range. Two million complete human DNA sequences is nothing to scoff at, and the the company is getting them from a variety of sources. AstraZeneca itself is supplying the first quarter, which conveniently come from their own patient trials. Human Longevity Inc., the firm that is doing the sequencing, will be supplying another 26,000. University of Helsinki is also providing AstraZeneca it’s own unique database. Finland has a relatively isolated human population, and AstraZeneca is hoping that they will be able to discover genes present in Finnish people that are absent in others.