Work on Turkey's Genome Project will begin next year and will involve a detailed DNA analysis of 100,000 nationals from all across the country, Health Ministry Undersecretary Eyüp Gümüş said over the weekend.
The Genome Project will allow health professionals and researchers to find out if nationals are especially susceptible to certain diseases and help in devising appropriate preventative measures.
"The study will be especially important in terms of preparing special treatments for people suffering from genetic diseases. The DNAs of 100,000 healthy individuals from all walks of life will be analyzed so that we find out what kind of genetic mutations are more frequent in our land. We have no idea about our own genetic structure. Such studies are being conducted in the U.K., U.S., Germany and France."
He said the study will also pave the way for personalized medical treatment. "For example, drugs manufactured in the U.S. are produced in accordance with the domestic genetic structure. They don't match our structure. Anatolia is a place where all kinds of genetic movements were pooled and consequently, rare diseases are more common here. We will be able to better assess where such deformations come from."
He also said a second DNA project, which included contributions by Aziz Sancar Research Institute in Ankara and Yale University, would assist in experts receiving special training in the U.S. for a detailed analysis of 3,000 cancer patients in Turkey for better treatment of local sufferers.