A team in South Africa has sequenced and analysed six whole human genomes, the first time this process has been carried out in South Africa.
As part of their study, published in Scientific Reports, the team sequenced and analysed the whole genomes of six people. This work was carried out at the South African Medical Research Council’s Genomics Centre.
To check the accuracy of their data, the scientists also ran one of the samples at the Beijing Genomics Institute in China. They found the results were highly comparable.
Brigitte Glanzmann, lead author, Crick African Network fellow and researcher at Stellenbosch University, says: “It’s been an honour to be involved in this project which marks an important milestone for science in Africa and shows how we can produce and analyse African genomics data on African soil, at an affordable price.
“We hope our work will help open the door for more whole genome sequencing and human genetic research to be carried out here in South Africa, one of the most diverse countries in the world.”
The scientists used the MGI-SEQ2000 platform which is a more affordable genetic sequencing instrument than others on the market.
Brigitte adds: “By using this platform, we wanted to show how it supports incredibly reliable and accurate whole genome sequencing. We encourage researchers in Africa to consider if they could use this technology, rather than having to send their samples to commercial companies/collaborators outside of Africa.”
Brigitte’s involvement in the project was part funded through a fellowship award from the Crick African Network. The network was set up in 2017 and has funded 18 African scientists. The programme provides funding and training and is designed to help prepare the recipients to establish their own research groups in Africa.