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Media Release
For Immediate Release

Melbourne, 18 July — The Chairman, Mr David Abraham, and the Scientific Director, Professor Richard Cotton are delighted to announce that Human Variome Project International Limited has been admitted into operational relations with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

“This is a major step forward for science in Australia, as well as Human Variome Project International Limited, the International Coordinating Office of the Human Variome Project, based in Melbourne,” said Mr Abraham. He also stated that this is a significant endorsement by the international community of the Human Variome Project, a project that has been promoted by its founder Professor Richard Cotton.

“This is the first scientific project approved by UNESCO in Australia,” said Professor Cotton, “and the first genetics project in the world.”

ENDS

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Media Release
For Immediate Release

Melbourne, 21 January — China committed to the global fight to eradicate genetic disease today with representatives of the Chinese Government pledging around US$300 million to establish a new institute to directly contribute to the work of the Human Variome Project.

The Human Variome Project is an international consortium of clinicians, geneticists and researchers from over 30 countries led by Professor Richard Cotton, a world renowned expert in the area of genetic variation detection and data collection. It was formally initiated in 2006 at a World Health Organisation sponsored meeting in Melbourne, Australia and seeks to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of standards, systems and infrastructure for the worldwide collection and sharing of all genetic variations effecting human disease. The ultimate goal of the Project is to integrate the systematic collection and sharing of genetic variant information into routine clinical practice.

"This is an unprecedented step forward for the field of genetic health," says Professor Richard Cotton, the Project’s Scientific Director and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. "By committing this level of funds directly to achieving the vision of the Human Variome Project, China has shown the world that not only do they recognise genetic disease as a serious global health issue, but that they are serious about addressing it"

With a population of some 1.4 billion people, a quarter of the world’s population, there is a huge amount of genetic diversity within China. The new institute, based in Beijing, will leverage that diversity to build new—and supplement existing—databases that catalogue genetic variation within genes implicated in hundreds of genetic diseases.

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Media Relase
For Immediate Release

Washington, 2 November — The Human Variome Project today announced that it had exceeded some very important milestones set out in its Project Roadmap 2010-2012 by officially partnering with consortiums to coordinate the collection of genetic data from four countries: China, Kuwait, Malaysia and Australia. “We are very happy to have formed these valuable partnerships so quickly after the release of our Project Roadmap,” said Professor Richard Cotton, the Project’s Scientific Director and a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne, Australia.

“The consortiums from these four countries have initiated what we are calling HVP Country Nodes: secure repositories of all the genetic variants being discovered in the diagnostic laboratories of individual countries,” said Cotton.

HVP Country Nodes will not only be valuable sources of information to inform better diagnostic decisions and healthcare planning within the countries possessing nodes, but will also share portions of their datasets with international gene and disease specific databases.

“This is exactly the kind of work the Human Variome Project was conceived to support,” said Cotton, “The free and open sharing of genetic data across national and cultural boundaries. However, we still need to be sensitive to the different legal and ethical landscapes that are out there. That’s what makes the concept of HVP Country Nodes so powerful: each country gets to control how their data is collected and how it is shared.”

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Media Release
For Immediate Release

Paris, 11 May – Some 200 researchers are taking part in the third Human Variome Project meeting which began at UNESCO headquarters on 10 May. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bovoka, has granted the Organization’s patronage to the meeting, which is focused on how human genetic variation data can be collected and shared and used to develop treatments against disease.

The Human Variome Project is an international consortium of researchers committed to reducing the burden of genetic disease on the world’s population. The consortium believes that the collection of information on every instance of a genetic variation and its effect on human health is the only way that the vision can be achieved. The sharing of information on genetic variation and its consequences among scientists and within civil society allows existing treatments to be delivered more effectively to patients and new treatments and cures to be developed.

The complete sequencing of the human genome met with worldwide acclaim, not only because a significant mountain had been climbed but because scientists acquired the potential to simplify the analysis of both non-inherited and inherited genetic disease. The next frontier is the discovery and documentation of all variations present in human genes so that the results of the Human Genome can be put to practical use for disease treatment and prevention. The Human Variome Project, gathering and sharing genetic variation data, aims to make this happen.

"UNESCO wishes to underline the importance of utilizing basic research to meet societal needs and bringing together scientists and civil society for dialogue and co-operation" said Walter Erdelen, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, in his welcoming address to the meeting. “The multidisciplinary nature of the Human Variome Project, which includes scientists and practitioners from different disciplines (molecular biologists, geneticists, clinicians, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians and IT specialists), allows for basic research findings to be accessible to and useful for clinicians and the people they serve.”

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Media Release
STRICT EMBARGO 6AM FRI 7 Nov
News Editors, News Desks
Issued: Thursday 06 Nov

An Australian led global initiative to improve the diagnosis of genetic disorders and reduce errors in the reporting of genetic variations will be published in the prestigious scientific journal Science on Friday 7 November (AUS).

“There is a staggering close to 40 percent error rate in some reporting of genetic variations,” says Professor Richard Cotton, lead author of the paper, Convenor of the Human Variome Project and honorary researcher at the University of Melbourne. 

“This means clinicians and specialists cannot solely rely on the research literature to inform the life and death decisions of diagnosis and prognosis of genetic disorders.”

Over 60 percent of people worldwide will be affected by a genetic change at some point in their lives that can result in a range of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, epilepsy and cancer.

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