The UK leads the world in harnessing the huge potential from understanding our DNA and genes. The 100,000 Genomes Project – launched in 2012 – is now poised to achieve its sequencing goal. The UK has led the way in creating a global genomics sector with NHS England, Genomics England, the UK government through the Department of Health and Social Care, and industry playing pivotal roles in fuelling this area of science.
Sequencing the first human genome took 13 years. In less than five years, Genomics England has sequenced tens of thousands of genomes which will shed light on the causes and function of cancers and rare diseases, thanks to patients and their families and their doctors and nurses who have taken part in the project.
In October, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced plans to sequence many more genomes – from 100,000 genomes to a million – and an ambition to study up to 5 million genomes in the next five years. This will help in our endeavour to understand the link between genetic information and the risk of disease, to bring new discoveries, new awareness and wider benefits to patients, and to deliver the most efficient, effective and equitable healthcare system in the world. The panel discussed:
Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England
Sir John Chisholm, Chair at Genomics England
Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England
Monica Preuss, Head of Science, Genomics and Emerging Technologies at Department of Health