£15m boost for Scotland’s gene research

Published: 12 January 2015

The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are to partner with Illumina, the global leader in sequencing and genomics, in the £15 million project.

The initiative will enable scientists and clinicians to access equipment that can decode the entire genetic make-up of a person for less than £750.

The investment will establish The Scottish Genomes Partnership, which will install 15 state-of-the-art HiSeq X sequencing instruments divided between two hubs within the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Researchers will be able to study the genomes of both healthy and sick people on a large scale and faster than before.

Scotland is uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to the field of genomics medicine. It has well established and approved methods of linking electronic health records to medical research programmes, governed by NHS and academic regulations.
Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice Principal, Planning, Resources and Research Policy, University of Edinburgh

Linking genetic data with clinical information will enable more precise, molecular diagnoses for patients in the Scottish NHS, leading to more personalised treatment and safer selection of drug therapies. It will also bring new understanding of the causes of both rare and common diseases, opening the door to the development of new treatments.


Scotland has an ideal ecosystem to lead the world in precision medicine. With a population of 5.3 million, cohesive and collaborative NHS, academia and industry, we have developed unique capability to screen DNA from patients with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Professor Anna Dominiczak, Vice Principal and Head of College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow

The Partnership will initially focus on very rapid screening of cancer patients, diagnosing childhood illnesses, disorders of the central nervous system and population studies.

Edinburgh is home to the UK’s national supercomputer facility, which will provide the high performance data processing ability needed to analyse the vast volume of information that will be generated from this research. This affords an exceptional opportunity for Scotland’s outstanding researchers and clinicians to transform the way medicine is practiced in the coming years.
Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice Principal, Planning, Resources and Research Policy, University of Edinburgh

Eventually, by utilizing other Illumina systems, they hope to use the technology to study genomes from plants and livestock for agricultural research, an area at which Scotland excels. They also hope to examine infectious organisms such as bacteria and viruses in order more quickly and accurately to diagnose infections. 

We are very excited to work with The Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow as they create The Scottish Genomes Partnership and are committed to working closely with them on this ground-breaking initiative. By unlocking the power of the genome, we can better understand cancer and rare diseases and ultimately transform how they are diagnosed and treated.
Jay Flatley, Chief Executive Officer, Illumina

Further information on Edinburgh Genomics

 

Source: University of Edinburgh 

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