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If reasonable investments are made, Vietnam would be able to decode the genome of about 100 Vietnamese people by 2015. Decoding the genome would not only help discover, diagnose and prescribe diseases, but also help find good genes to improve the Vietnamese race.
Associate Professor Dr Nong Van Hai from the Biotechnology Institute has affirmed that the achievements would be attainable if the State accepts to make reasonable investment in the scientific research work at the meeting between the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Vietnam Science and Technology Institute held in Hanoi some days ago.
Looking for good genes
According to the professor, genome decoding programs have been carried out since 1980s of the last century, including the Genome project headed by the US with the joining of 20 countries and territories. The project, carried out in 1989-2003 completed the decoding of the genome of five individuals representing five races in the world.
Recently, the UK, US and some other countries have been carrying out a project on decoding and analyzing the genomes of 1000 individuals in the world. To date, the decoding of four people has been completed, including two Chinese.
In 2007, China kicked off the project on Chinese genome which aims to decode 100 genomes of Chinese people. The decoding of two people has been completed, while the country plans to decode 10,000 genomes or millions of people in the next years.
Especially, the country has invested spent money to buy hundreds of the next-generation gene decoding machines with high performance, giant high-speed computers that serve the gene analysis and 160 DNA sequencing machines.
China has surpassed France and Germany in terms of gene decoding equipment, now ranking the fourth in the world in terms of material facilities and becoming the 7th among the 16 nations leading in the world in terms of human genome analysis.
Also according to Dr Hai, scientists have found out from the research works that human individuals of different races are 99 percent similar to each other, and they only have a very small percentage (0.1 percent) of difference in the genome. However, the very small difference plays the decisive role in demographic characteristics, the health of the whole nation, and the genetic factors relating to the health of every individual.
In Vietnam, the Vietnam Biotechnology Institute has successfully decoded the mitochondrial genomes of three nationalities of Kinh, Tay and Muong (three individuals for each nationality). Besides, tens of other human genes have also been decoded, which has been utilized in mitochondrial genome analysis, serving the work of inspecting the remains of martyrs
Genome Research Institute establishment proposed
Hai emphasized that making research on the structure and the functions of the genes inside people’s bodies is a basic scientific matter. Especially, every country needs to decode the genomes of their nationalities themselves, which cannot be done by others.
Therefore, he has suggested setting up a genome institute which belongs to the Vietnam Science and Technology Academy comprising of 20-30 researchers, who are the genome experts.
The institute would receive equipment and necessary material facilities to carry out the decoding and analyzing the genome of Vietnamese people. It is expected that by 2020, the institute would be upgraded into a national research unit belonging to the Vietnam Science and Technology Academy with 50-70 researchers, while it would be even bigger with 150-180 researchers by 2030.
Source: Dat Viet/ VNN
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