Tuesday, March 27, 2007

China, Australia to collaborate on genetic research

Australian and Chinese researchers have agreed to collaborate on a new genetic research project to find a link between genes and diseases.

They will use the information gathered to develop new medicines that can help people according to their specific genetic make-up.

Liver disease and obesity are just two conditions that can benefit from a better understanding of human genes and personally-targeted drug treatments.

The director of the China-Australia Centre for Phenomics Research, Dr Ed Bertram, has told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program, the project will be fast-tracking research by many years.

He says they are teaming up with the Beijing Genomics Institute, a world leader in genome sequencing technology for more than 10 years.

"One of the key projects that we will be working with is to build a large-scale library of some 10,000 unique fully-sequenced genetic mice with mutations of every gene in the genome," he said.

"Researchers can then access to study or validate genes from the human genome sequences for finding cause and mutations that are involved in disease."

Dr Bertram says the information will allow them to develop new therapies and drugs, as well as look at current drugs and treatments and their suitability for patients.

The China-Australia Centre, located at the Australian National University in Canberra, was one of four joint research centres set up with the support of the Australian and Chinese governments in 2008.

Dr Bertram says the new initiative is the start of a long-term partnership.

"It's really the latest technology development that will allow us to rapidly increase that output," he said.

"And we've found working with China to be a very good collaboration, particularly in this area."


source: Radio Australia News

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