Introduction to special issue

A Fantastic Voyage in Genomics

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Science  06 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6359, pp. 56-57
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6359.56

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  • Finnish and Japanese systems for genomic analysis, and an expectation for interdisciplinary research
    • Shino Iwami, Project Researcher, University of Jyväskylä

    In the introduction to special issue, "A Fantastic Voyage in Genomics" (1), Laura M. Zahn described prevention and treatment of disease on the basis of genome. Just before the publication, I listened to a presentation about precision medicine with genomics, and I acquired knowledge about (a) Finnish genomics database and (b) distribution of race based on genomics.
    Regarding (a), Finnish institutes have prepared various health and social welfare registers since 1950s (2). The long-term stocks of records are available to indicate disease potentials by genome and age, and achievements of marching between genes and diseases about Finnish are in public (3, 4). In Japan, DDBJ (DNA data bank of Japan) started in 1987, and it provides a super-computer service for genetic analyses since 2012 (5). Although the Japanese government has promoted the introduction of electronic medical records since around 2001, staff resistance and patient concerns about privacy infringement have made it difficult to integrate disease databases in the country.
    Regarding (b), I was surprised at a long distance between Finnish people and Hungarian people in the European genetic map (6) because Finnish language and Hungarian language are close in the language family. One study that genetics has higher correlation with geography than with language (7) gives me evidence. From this gap, I greatly expect a potential of genomics to reveal the dynamics of culture and ancient people.

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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