A new, €12m EC project aims to use web technology to build a wide-ranging integrated genetic variation catalogue to provide information that may help to improve understanding of disorders such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Lead scientist Professor Anthony Brookes, from the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics, said: ‘Technologies for the exploration of genetic variation in ‘common’ disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune states, have only been devised the last few years, with widespread deployment only now happening. An unprecedented torrent of exciting, valuable, and important research observations is therefore now arriving, and yet there is no universal internet-ready system able to receive all these data, to store and combine them, and to make them available for researchers and doctors alike to evaluate and exploit.’
The GEN2PHEN project aims to solve this plans by organising electronic genetics data to draw links between gene sequences (‘genotypes’) contribute to inter-individual differences in disease, drug response, and other characteristics (‘phenotypes’). These relationships (usually in the form of ‘genotype-phenotype’ information stored in scattered databases) are deemed to become essential for future prognosis, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
GEN2PHEN will build a set of database components, tools and technologies that will help all research results pertaining to genome variation and disease to be properly integrated and immediately available for holistic analysis via the internet. The project will deploy a major internet portal, called the ‘GEN2PHEN Knowledge Centre’, which will prominently profile the solutions generated by the project and set these in the context of powerful search capabilities for genotype-phenotype data and the very latest expertise on genotype-phenotype databases.