The NL Genome Project is a population genetics study. By combining genetic and health information with advanced statistical and computational analysis, we hope to use insights from Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique population to discover better, safer medicines and improve how we treat and prevent diseases.
But, what is our genome? Why study our genetics?
Let’s learn more about genomics and DNA
DNA is the unique code, or instruction manual, that helps make you unique. It tells your body how to grow, develop and repair itself. Your DNA is made up of four chemicals, which we represent by the letters A, C, T, and G.
Your genetic code is all the DNA in your body and is 3.2 billion letters long - this is called your genome. Your genome is 99.9% the same as everyone else’s. The 0.1% difference, based on the order of your DNA, is what makes you special and unique.
What does your genome tell us?
Certain strings of letters in your genome are called genes and they tell us things like hair colour and how tall you will be. Your genes can also tell us more serious things like if you have a certain disease, or risk of developing various health conditions. You have about 22,000 genes in your body and the study of your genes is called genetics.
With the NL Genome Project, we’ll first extract DNA from your saliva and then use incredible technology to analyze your genetic code. We will start by performing advanced genotyping of all participants’ DNA.
While genotyping doesn’t read everything in your genome, it does provide an overall view of genetic changes scientists have already discovered. This will enable us to perform our research and return findings to participants that choose to receive them. Over time, we will perform whole genome sequencing on participants to read nearly all 3 billion letters of their genomes, and to look for all the changes and potentially discover new insights into people’s genetic variations.
Now that we know all about your genome, what next? Well, by combining and studying lots of interesting people’s genetic codes, medical records, and health information, we can look for patterns and genetic changes that can alter the function of genes (almost like a typo in our genome) that might explain why some people are more likely to get sick, or why some medicines work better on some people, but not others. These findings could be significant, and we hope will help Sequence Bio and approved partners identify opportunities for the development of better, safer treatments.
Like other health research, there is no guarantee the NL Genome Proejct will result in any significant findings.