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Russian researchers to have ‘genomic portrait’ of ethnic Russian by 2018

February 06, 2015, 21:16 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
The project is aimed at prompting the development of Russian genetic science and pharmaceutical industry, since the same medicines had different effects on different ethnic groups, researchers say
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© ITAR-TASS/Artyom Korotayev

ST. PETERSBURG, February 6. /TASS/. Russian geneticists are working on a ‘genomic portrait’ of an ethnic Russian, Anna Gorbunova of the St. Petersburg State University’s Center for Genomic Bioinformatics told TASS on Friday.

"We hope that in a span of three years, by 2018, we will have a ‘genomic portrait’ of a Russian national," he said.

She said the project was to prompt the development of Russian genetic science and pharmaceutical industry, since the same medicines had different effects on different ethnic groups. A "genomic portrait," in her words, would set a "system of coordinates" to advance the efficiency of treatment for many diseases, and hence to extend life expectancy in the ethnic group.

To reveal specifics of gene variants typical of ethnic Russians, researchers will take at least 1,500 blood samples. "We have been working for about 18 months and have taken 30 samples. In about two months, when the issue of either purchasing or leasing out genome sequencing equipment is solved, we will begin analysis of the blood samples," Gorbunova said.

Before taking blood samples, geneticists will consult ethnographers and doctors. "Only people living in rural areas for a at least three generations will avail for us," she said, adding that a-mother-a-father-and-a-child trios were to account at least half of samples to trace genetic traits transfer. The final sampling was to feature representatives of residents of all of the Russian regions, she added.

Further plans include similar genomic studies of all ethnic groups living in Russia. As of today, the grant financing of the project is five million rubles (roughly $74,500). The university however has found a possibility to expand financing.

Similar studies have been conducted in the majority of European and American countries, in China, in Japan and in a number of African countries.

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