China is set to build a massive DNA database platform in Nanjing aimed at storing genetic information of millions of its ethnic Chinese population, a senior health official said on Tuesday.
The project is part of the National Health and Medicine Big Data (Nanjing) Centre, a six-billion yuan project under construction in the city, Xinhua news agency quoted the official as saying.
During the first phase, health and medical information on about 80 million people, the equivalent of the population in Jiangsu province, will be stored at the centre, he said.
"When the facilities are ready, the designed capacity for DNA sequencing will be up to 400,000 to 500,000 samples per year."
The DNA sequencing project will be jointly undertaken by the state-owned Yangzi Group, Southeast University and Nanjing Medical University.
Researchers will then use big data created in the database to study genetic mutations related to major diseases, look for the impact of interaction between genes and environmental concerns on human heath, and provide statistical support for diagnosis and treatment of major diseases, the official said.
Cai Long, board director of Yangzi Group, said the programme will focus on population genetics, newborns, childhood brain and cognitive development, cancer, and rare and chronic diseases.
The database is expected to be completed in about four years.