Professor Cossins with Sir Alan in the lab
Sir Alan Langlands, Chairman of UK Biobank, has visited the Centre for Genomic Research in the Institute of Integrative Biology, for a briefing on DNA sequencing technology.
Sir Alan, who is also Chairman of Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), toured the laboratories to gain a better understanding of the implications of a large-scale sequencing operation.
There was also a briefing session with contributions from Professor Andrew Cossins, Head of the Institute, and Professor Neil Hall from the Centre. Professor Munir Pirmohamed, the NHS chair of Pharmacogenetics at the University and Professor Bill Ollier, Research Director of Salford Hospitals also gave a talk.
The discussions centred around the technology itself, its forward development and how a large-scale service provision could satisfy the needs of Biobank.
UK Biobank has accumulated clinical histories, measurements and blood samples for 500,000 UK residents aged 40-69 to help tackle the diseases of the 21st century. A key objective is to determine the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors in the development of disease. As groups of patients emerge with specific diseases the Biobank intends to compare their genome sequences with undiseased controls. The Biobank is expecting to require the sequencing of several thousand genomes which only now is becoming feasible.
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I wrote a blog yesterday (see it here - https://tinyurl.com/y9zrotsp) about the fact that it is for the police to interpret and enforce the law, not ministers. @DurhamPolice have now provided their interpretation and view on enforcement.