1,000 Genomes Project announced, but is it really 1,000 genomes?

I welcome the news of the 1,000 human genome project that was announced a couple days ago eagerly.  It is a really ambitious effort that will involve sequencing (parts of) the genomes of at least a thousand people from around the world to create the most detailed and useful picture to date of human genetic variation.

As sweep of Gene Expression points out, the project won’t be actually sequencing the genomes of 1,000 people. Rather, six individuals from two families, will get their entire genomes sequenced. 180 different people, from European, Chinese, Japanese, and Nigerian populations will get a more shallow sequence. And then the rest will be sequenced in all of the known protein-coding regions from 1000-2000 genes in over 1000 people. Here are the populations that will be sampled,

“Yoruba in Ibadan, Nigeria; Japanese in Tokyo; Chinese in Beijing; Utah residents with ancestry from northern and western Europe; Luhya in Webuye, Kenya; Maasai in Kinyawa, Kenya; Toscani in Italy; Gujarati Indians in Houston; Chinese in metropolitan Denver; people of Mexican ancestry in Los Angeles; and people of African ancestry in the southwestern United States. “

Much of the press is misinforming people, saying the actually genomes of 1,000 people will be sequenced. That’s a monumental and costly effort, even with the advances we have in sequencing technology. But the data will be invaluable because it will provide a lot of resolution in genetic variation from over 1,000 people. I can’t wait to see what they figure out in three years time. In the mean time, I guess book marking the project’s page, 1000genomes.org, and checking in once in a while to see the progress wouldn’t be a bad idea!

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