Medical Genome Project

The Medical Genome Project (MGP) was the first regional genomics project carried out in Spain, starting by 2010. MGP was an unprecedented study that has tackled the sequencing of hundreds of human genomes of phenotyped sick individuals and control individuals, to develop the technologies to speed up the laborious process of discovering genes responsible for a given disease. This also means exploring new approaches in the development of diagnostic techniques that allow early detection of these diseases and opens new possibilities for the generation of drugs or therapies that allow their treatment, also at the genetic or cellular level. This project was led by the renowned researchers Shomi BhattacharyaGuillermo Antiñolo and Joaquín Dopazo.

The MGP focused on the study of rare diseases. Although these are rare isolated conditions, as a whole they are important because they affect 5-7% of the population in developed countries. Eighty percent of these diseases have a genetic basis.

Genomics and biotechnology, integrated with quality care and management of information systems and samples, offer a great potential for clinical innovation to improve the diagnosis and therapy of patients. MGP provides new concepts and approaches related to the quality of the samples and their associated clinical information. A new philosophy of clinical information and research management that enables continuous updating of the information associated with the samples, as well as content integration and security of all data in information systems as part of the clinical history of the patients. All this will implement the first steps of personalized medicine within the public health system in Andalusia.

The project had the latest technology by 2010 at its disposal: 11 high-throughput megasequencing systems that are able to sequence a human genome in a few days. By combining this platform and our other technological equipment, valuable information was obtained with a view to being able to solve health problems for which there were no alternatives by then. All data generated were analyzed and processed in a computer platform equipped with most innovative equipment available by 2010, controlled by first-class bioinformatics experts.

The project was carried out in the former Andalusian Centre of Human Genome Sequencing, located in the Technology Park Cartuja 93 in Seville, in an area of over 1,000 m2 divided into seven laboratories and common research and administration areas. The MGP facilities were located in an environment that allowed the development and synergy of all stakeholders in the Andalusian Knowledge System.

The creation of this Centre and the project developed in it represented a commitment by the Regional Ministry of Health and has also received financial support from the Central Government.