The government is to give 100,000 Estonians information about their genetic risks

The Estonian government will allocate €5 million to a development project that aims to collect the genetic data of 100,000 people and integrate it into everyday medical practice by giving people feedback of their personal genetic risks.

The general purpose of the project is to boost the development of personalised medicine in Estonia, the country’s ministry of social affairs said in a statement.

The project aims to collect the DNA of 100,000 individuals and to generate personalised genetic reports for the participants using the Illumina Global Screening Array.

The goal of the project is to create a possibility to link genetic data with the Estonian National Health Information System, to enable physicians to take people’s personal genetic information into account when assessing the health risks of the patient.

The ministry of social affairs, the National Institute for Health Development and the University of Tartu will jointly implement the project. The collection, genotyping and initial analysis of gene samples will be managed by and done at the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu, which already stores over 52,000 biological samples from the Estonian population.

The university will also contribute to the creation of a feedback system for the biobank participants, and to training of healthcare professionals for giving patients feedback based on genetic information. The official sample collection will start on 2 April 2018.

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Cover: Human DNA (the image is illustrative).

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and politics and society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. You can write to Silver at silver@estonianworld.com.