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Latest revision as of 13:47, 24 March 2020

10,000 Korean Human Genome Project also known as Genome Korea in Ulsan (GKU).

Supported by Ministry of Science & Technology and Ulsan City.

ULSAN, KOREA - Nov 25, 2015.


GKU is the the largest scale Personal Genome Project (PGP) launched in Korea to sequence 10,000 people and patients by 2020 and 50,000,000 Koreans by 2030.

GKU is the second phase of the Korean Genome Project launched in 2006 by KOBICKRIBB, by the Roh Moo Hyun regime as a pinoneering genomics project for the future bioscience of Korea and beyond. 

GKU is also known as The Ulsan 10,000 Genome Project, was launched in Ulsan Metropolitan City on the 25th of Nov. 2015. (Regional designation does not mean exclusiveness. Korean Genome Project does not mean it is only for Koreans but it is initiated by Korean insititues).

The international consortium includes the Ulsan Metropolitan City, KOGIC of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan University Hospital, the University of Ulsan and Harvard Medical School (Prof. George Church).

This is a largest-scale publicly-funded genome project in Korea to date (March 2020), with the estimated total funding of ~15 million USD by 2020.

The goal of GKU is to map complete genomic diversity of Koreans, constructing standardized gene variation database, detecting rare genetic mutations, and providing well-annotated full genome information for growing genomic industry of Korea. GKU does does not exclude other ethnic groups and the researchers have been collecting and trying to include as many ethnic diversity as possible. 

The consortium will seek necessary funding from public and private sectors to achieve its goal of sequencing all the Koreans in by 2030. There are phases and the initial phase is sequencing 1,000 relatively healthy individuals in Korea. The second phase will be 2,500 people who are both healthy and diseased (all across the nation, not restricted to Ulsan).  The third phase will probably include 4,000 individuals (Korea4K Genome). All the10,000 samples will be collected from both healthy people and diseased people across the country in any backround.

The project's practical aim is to develop an industrial foundation in genomics for future biomedical industry of Korea and beyond. Ulsan, at the South East tip of Korea is known as the capital of Korean industrialization and has a well established industrial infrastructure.

The Genome Korea consortium will facilitate developing new sequencing and analysis technologies to achieve personalized medicine in Korea. This project is complementary to Korean government's on-going Multi-ministry Genomics Initiative (다부처유전체 사업) which has started in 2013 with a total sum of 500 million USD for 8 years to carry out human, agricultural, and medical genomics projects.

Genome Korea is in collaboration with Harvard Medical School's Personal Genome Project (PGP), led by Professor George Church who developed key genome sequencing and editing technologies for decades. KOGIC at UNIST and Harvard Medical School signed an MOU for the Ulsan 10,000 genome project.

Genome Korea is a participatory project where volunteers donate blood samples and personal and clinical information. Korean PGP project, led by Prof. Jong Bhak at UNIST have already published over 50 high quality individual genomes with the Korean reference genome assembly called KoVariome, funded by Korean government. Ulsan's 10,000 genome which will be completed in 2020 is the first large scale public project that will expand to the whole Korean population which is similar to 100,000 UK genome (completed in 2018) and US president Obama's 1 million genome project.(All of Us Genome project).

Former Ulsan mayor, Mr. Ki-hyun Kim, emphasized the significance of Genome Korea in Ulsan project by addressing "We aim to make Ulsan as the hub of genomic industry in Asia and beyond by linking it to diagnostic and therapeutic medical industry as a key Korean economic industrialization driving force". Currently, Mr. Song, Chul-Ho, the new mayor since 2018 is supporting Genome Korea with UNIST.

GKU was announced by then UNIST president, Prof. Mooyoung Jung who had an ambitious plan to make the Ulsan 10,000 genome project, by raising the technology level to the world top level innovative research by analyzing 10,000 people genomes at UNIST.

GKU is associated with genomics. Geromics is the omics study of biological aging and anti-aging. Korea's aging population is growing at a rapid pace. Korea and the world, therefore, need fast genome industry to lower the medical cost and prevent national scale infectious disease endemic analyzing genomes and associated omics information. This must be accompanied by the commercialization of the technologies and large scale Korean Genome Project that can function as the seed of future biomedical revolution in business and society. 

Ulsan is one of the most industrialized cities in South Korea which hosts global business cooperations such as Hyundai, SK, and Samsung. Ulsan's main industry has been mostly heavy industrials such as car manufacturing, ship building, and oil refining. Currently, Ulsan plans to develop new high-tech industries such as biomedical devices, reagents, new materials, energy storage, and information technologies. Ulsan 10K genome is a part of such an effort to recruit skilled labor and highly value-added business entities.

KOGIC is the Korean Genomics Center and UNIST is a new science and technology university in Korea established by the government in 2009.