Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Genomic Medicine Institute- Seoul National University, and Macrogen Inc. have announced the Urugenomes Project. As one of the first of its kind in South America, the Urugenomes Project is aimed at discovering the genetic basis of different diseases in Uruguay and laying the vital foundation for future growth of genetics in Uruguay through development of human resources and investment on infrastructures.
Over the next three years, 80 Uruguayan genomes will be sequenced and analyzed in order to uncover the genetic basis for diseases in Uruguay. “Urugenomes Project is very important to us in many different aspects. The science aspect of studying the Uruguayan genome is very exciting, but we are also extremely thrilled about the educational and cultural aspect of this project,” said Dr. Jeong-Sun Seo, Chairman of Macrogen. “We hope that through this collaboration, the Uruguayan scientists will gain valuable insight into genetics and bioinformatics to lay the solid foundation for future Uruguayan genetic research.”
The project will also provide specialized bioinformatics training for Uruguayan scientists. GMI-SNU and Macrogen will provide hands-on training for the scientists in Seoul (South Korea) and Montevideo (Uruguay). “Development of bioinformatics capability is becoming strategically important not only for academic research but also for disease diagnosis and development of new biotech products in Uruguay.” said Dr. Luis Barbeito, the director of Institut Pasteur de Montevideo.
The 80 genomes will be sequenced by Macrogen on the HiSeq X Ten sequencing system. Macrogen was the first commercial sequencing provider to purchase Illumina sequencing platform in January 2014. HiSeq X Ten is the world’s first platform to deliver full coverage human genome for less than $1,000, capable of sequencing more than 18,000 genomes annually.
The results from this project will be used to build a Uruguayan-specific database, providing basis for future personalized medicine in Uruguay. The genetic information will help to understand the susceptibility to genetic disease of the Uruguayan population.
The Korea Funds of the Inter-American Development Bank have committed to fund a portion of the project in order to boost the research capacity of the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo and advance the cultural and scientific relationship between Uruguay and South Korea.