Genome Project Ends the Pilot Phase and Starts the Main Project
Tartu - After having achieved the principal goals of the pilot project, the Estonian Genome Project Foundation (EGPF) declared the pilot project in three counties completed and started the main project, covering nearly the whole of Estonia.
“The principal goal of the pilot project has been achieved - technical and organizational readiness for carrying out the main project over all Estonia has been obtained and the investments to begin expanding the project have been incorporated”, said Krista Kruuv, Chairman of the Management Board of EGPF.
Data collection will continue in the counties of the pilot project - namely Tartu, West Viru and Saare. The other regions of Estonia will be included step by step. At the first stage of the expansion of the Genome Project, Jogeva, Viljandi and Parnu counties will be included, the data collection has been started in April. In summer, Voru, Polva and Valga counties will join the project. The next joining counties are Laane, Rapla and Jarva counties, where the data collection will start in autumn. Part of the Harju county will also be included this year. Tallinn - the capital of Estonia - and East Viru county will join the project in the first half of the year 2004.
During the main project genotype data will be added in addition to phenotype data in the Estonian Gene Bank. “We envisage that genotyping could start within two or three years,” said Kruuv.
The objective of the Estonian Genome Project is to establish a database of health and genetic data of the people of Estonia that enables more exact and efficient diagnoses of illnesses, improvement of treatment and determination of risks of the development of an illness in the future. The data collection in the counties of the pilot project began in October 2002 (see EuroBiotechNews 1/02). The number of gene donors was nearly a thousand in the end of the pilot project. There were more than 50 data collectors involved.