London, UK. Due to the sheer lunacy of trying to sequence 100,000 people with only a few people and five laptops, Genomics England have decided to instead just impute from 1000 genomes data.
Jo Caulfield, comedienne and head of the project, told TheScienceWeb “It all seemed like such a good idea when I discussed it with David [Cameron]. 100,000 genomes, £100million, done. Brilliant. But then we thought about it… and it turns out that’s a lot of data, and, it turns out, analysing the data takes really big computers. We hadn’t really thought about that”
Tim Cupboard, who designed the informatics system, added “When I first spoke to Jo, he told me he had £100M to sequence 100,000 genomes. I mentioned that it was £1000 to sequence a genome, which would take up all of the budget, and did he have any money for staff and computers? He just looked at me blankly. So we scraped together enough money for 5 laptops and a few licences for CLC, but it turns out that’s not enough”
Instead, the team now intend to take out 100,000 23andMe subscriptions and then use 1000 genomes data to impute to whole-genome haplotypes. “It’s basically 85% accurate” said Tim, “surely that’s good enough for clinical practice?”