Over the past three decades, biomedical research has advanced at an incredible rate – particularly in the area of genome (nucleic acid) sequencing and genotyping. The quality, speed and reduced cost of these new technologies have revolutionised the way researchers approach biological problems. Recent developments have made it possible to analyse whole genomes quickly and relatively cheaply. This has led to an explosion in genomic data, which is generating new hypotheses in the larger scientific community and improving molecular network analysis. In many cases, this ‘holistic’ approach is replacing the more resource-intensive analysis of single genes.
Scientific infrastructures are essential for ensuring that researchers can make the most of the vast amounts of data being generated every day. For example, sequencing a genome used to take years; now it takes hours. The flood of data generated in sequencing and genotyping experiments must be managed cooperatively, as no single institution can handle such masses of information – and keep up with evolving technical needs – alone.
What is ESGI?
The ESGI pools the efforts of leading European genomics and bioinformatics facilities to ensure that the larger scientific community can access new genomic technologies in an ethical way and use the latest analytic tools. The aim of ESGI is to enable scientists across all disciplines to use emerging technologies to decipher the complex functions of genes, without breaking the bank. For example, ESGI expects that it will become possible for scientists to sequence a mammalian genome for around EUR 1000.
What is the intention of ESGI?
ESGI partners are focusing their efforts on integrating and standardising current and emerging technologies, and are providing access to infrastructures so that a broad group of European researchers can use the new technologies. ESGI will provide accessible support and guidelines so that users can interpret the data efficiently. Substantial efforts will also go into developing platforms for storing and distributing genetic and genomic data. In addition, cooperation with biobanks and a large number of major biomedical research projects will enhance ESGI – ensuring that ethical and social questions are addressed and preventing duplication of effort.
What are the objectives of ESGI?
- Provide state-of-the-art sequencing and genotyping systems and bioinformatics support for excellent genetics and systems biology research in Europe
- Create an infrastructure that can routinely sequence the complete human genome in a few hours for less than 1000 Euro
- Create an entity with a diverse application range in genetics and systems biology
- Provide support and training in modern genome research for scientists in the 27 EU member states
Key data for ESGI
Start Date: 1 February 2011
Runtime: 4.5 years
EC Contribution: 9,499,999 EUR
Who are the members of ESGI?
- Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics (DE)
- Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel (DE)
- Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (UK)
- European Bioinformatics Institute (UK)
- CEA/Centre National de Genotypage (FR)
- INSERM, Toulouse (FR)
- PCB/Centro Nacional de Analisis Genómico (ES)
- CEB/Centre de Regulació Genòmica (ES)
- Uppsala University (SE)
- Medical University of Graz (AT)
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V., Berlin
Dr. Sascha Sauer
GABO:mi Gesellschaft für Ablauforganisation :milliarium mbH & Co. KG, Munich
Dr. Andre Durudas