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Taiwan Biobank to expand gene database to 200,000 individuals by 2024

(Xinhua)    10:18, December 17, 2019

A man listens to an introduction of the development of Taiwan Biobank during an annual session of the Taiwan Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, Dec. 16, 2019. Taiwan Biobank, founded in 2012, aims to expand its gene database to 200,000 individuals by 2024, its principal investigator Lee Te-chang said Monday. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)

TAIPEI, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Taiwan Biobank, founded in 2012, aims to expand its gene database to 200,000 individuals by 2024, its principal investigator Lee Te-chang said Monday.

The biobank, founded by the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, had collected gene samples from 120,000 generally healthy Taiwan residents aged from 30 to 70 as of last month and finished whole-genome genotyping of 100,000 of the samples, Lee said at an annual session of the Taiwan Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking held in Taipei.

Besides blood and urine samples, the biobank also collected physical data of participants, such as weight, height, blood pressure and bone mass, as well as health information including lifestyle, living environment and family disease history, according to Lee, also a distinguished research fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, the Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

"By 2024, the samples in our database will account for around 1 percent of Taiwan's total population and be evenly located," he said. "Our database will be of great significance for academic research and industrial application."

Since about 64 percent of the samples are currently from females, the biobank will work to improve the gender balance, he added.

Meanwhile, the biobank has also obtained gene samples from about 4,000 patients with major chronic diseases such as cancers and Alzheimer's disease since 2015 and is expected to expand to 100,000 such patients.


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