China Province of Jiansu will genome sequence one million people within two years

The government in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu has unveiled a plan to sequence the genomes of 1 million people for a large DNA sequencing platform and biomedical big data analysis center in Nanjing as well as a genetic information database for Chinese.

1 million genome sequences can crack problems like the genetic basis of intelligence

One million people is significant because physicist and genome information expert Steve Hsu’s estimates that a sample size of roughly 1 million people may be required to reliably identify the genetic signals of intelligence.

* Intelligence is (at least crudely) measurable
* Intelligence is highly heritable (much of the variance is determined by DNA)
* Intelligence is highly polygenic (controlled by many genetic variants, each of small effect)
* Intelligence is going to be deciphered at the molecular level, in the near future, by genomic studies with very large sample size

Cracking other complex features with a genetic basis will also need large (1 million) sample sizes and they need to be combined with detailed medical records and testing of gut bacteria and other factors to tease out more and more of the causal relationships.

Once intelligence is cracked then the information will be used by tiger parents to use IVF and selection of superior embryos.

The 1 million person genome sequencing project was announced at the China-US Precision Medicine Initiatives Nanjing Summit yesterday and Four experts from China and abroad will act as senior consultants. One consultant is George Church, a professor of genetics from Harvard University, who is the “Godfather of genetics”.

The National Health Medicine Big Data (Nanjing) Center began building its facilities last October. Almost a billion dollars (USD902.28 million, CNY6 billion) has gone into the project. It can store 52 petabytes can cover the health records of 80 million individuals and video materials from 174 of the province’s hospitals. They have the capacity to sequence about 400,000 to 500,000 people each year. It will take about two years to sequence one million people.

SOURCES – Infoproc,