Vietnam’s conglomerate Vingroup plans to invest US$4.5 million in producing the first complete sequences of the Vietnamese genome in a genome-mapping project which, once complete, will be the largest of its kind across Southeast Asia.
Vingroup’s Institute of Big Data announced the five-year project starting early 2019 at an international biomedical workshop in Hanoi on Thursday.
Experts will determine the sequences of DNA units that make up the genome, or genetic material, of 1,000 randomly-selected Vietnamese people and then use these to build a database on genetic variation for the Vietnamese population.
The database, expected to need hundreds of terabytes for storage, will serve as the reference source for research into the Vietnamese genome and genetic disease, and for pharmacogenomics – the study of the genome’s role in drug response.
During the first three years of the project, Vietnamese scientists will collect samples from 1,000 people and perform the DNA sequencing in collaboration with partners from countries such as the United States, Germany, Singapore and Japan.
In the last phase, the undertaking focuses on research on genomic correlations in order to develop diagnoses of hereditary diseases, provide individual-tailored medical treatment and study the genome’s adverse reaction to drugs.
Specialists hope the enterprise can put Vietnam on the world map of big data research and genetic engineering.
“Due to the complication and enormous costs of building genome databases, the project will make a significant contribution to the community of researchers in Vietnam’s genetic problems,” said Prof. Vu Ha Van, director of the Institute of Big Data.