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Ulysses: 100,000 Mediterranean Genome Project

Ulysses: 100,000 Mediterranean Genome Project

Dante Labs has announced today the Ulysses Genome Project that will create an inclusive Mediterranean genome reference of 100,000 individuals that reflects the powerful diversity of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East

LONDON — 11 November 2019 At the SynGen Series UK Conference today, leading DNA sequencing company Dante Labs announced its new Mediterranean Genome Project, Ulysses, which will sequence 100,000 human whole genomes in the next 3 years. 

The goal is to create a new and diverse reference genome that goes beyond the traditional reference genomes that were based solely on Anglo-Saxon populations. Ulysses will further advance the understanding of human genomes for all populations, enabling new groups of people to fully benefit from the power of genome sequencing.

 “We will sequence the genomes of 100,000 people from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe in the next 3 years”, says Dante Labs CEO Andrea Riposati. “Populations around the Mediterranean Sea are a single large group of people with several individual differences. We need to have more inclusive technology based on this diversity, instead of considering diversity only an option. As a more diverse reference genome, Ulysses will allow every individual to receive the most benefits from whole genome sequencing technology. We thank the Abruzzo Region, FiRA, Invitalia and all of our partners for supporting inclusive diversity with this project.”

In these past two years, working with individuals in 90 countries, Dante Labs has identified a key issue in genomics and life science: too many people are completely left out of research. This means that scientists know less about their health, and new therapies are not optimised for these people. The Mediterranean Genome Project aims to solve this problem.

Ulysses will leverage Artificial Intelligence to take into account the individual differences in environment, history, lifestyle, nutrition, and biology. Data will be stored in Europe to guarantee GDPR protection for all participants. Sequencing will be performed by Dante Labs in its high-output sequencing centre in Italy.

Funding for the Ulysses Genome Project comes from a group of innovators that include the Abruzzo Region Innovation Fund FiRA (Finanziaria Regionale Abruzzese), the Italian Government Innovation Agency, Invitalia, as well as several private organizations. 

Early partners will be announced in the next few weeks. Universities, hospitals, research centres and biobanks are invited to apply at the Ulysses Genome Project website.