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China joins Human Variome Project
China has pledged US$300 million (around £190 million) for a new institute in Beijing to contribute to the Human Variome Project (HVP).
The HVP (see previous news) is an international collaborative initiative linking researchers and clinicians in an effort to drive the collection and sharing of human genetic and clinical data, to understand the effect of genetic variation on disease. Now the Chinese Government has made the largest single financial contribution to the project since it was launched in 2006. HVP Scientific Director Professor Richard Cotton commented: “China has shown the world that not only do they recognise genetic disease as a serious global health issue, but that they are serious about addressing it”.
Besides representing another clear signal that China takes genetics very seriously as a determinant of individual and population health, this move is also a great boost for the HVP, since it will provide large quantities of valuable new data about genetic diversity within Chinese populations. Relative to their total number (1.4 billion), these groups have previously been rather under-represented in genetic and epidemiological research.