Biobank project of the UT Institute of Genomics attracts the attention of international science media

The Estonian Genome Centre, a part of the Institute of Genomics of the University of Tartu, launched this year an unexpectedly popular project to find 100,000 gene donors in Estonia. The biobank project has enjoyed enormous success at home, but now it has caught the eye of a prominent UK science magazine New Scientist.

New Scientist, published in London since 1956 and with branches in the USA and Australia, is a magazine that makes science accessible to the wider audience. It has 3 million readers every week, giving the Estonian Genome Centre’s success story a whole new global dimension.

“It is a national initiative carried out under the aegis of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. It is a significant step. In addition, I must praise the National Institute for Health Development that has also contributed to the promotion of public health. People have been extremely interested in the project: around 30,000 people have given their digital signature to become a gene donor,” said Director of the UT Institute of Genomics Andres Metspalu with considerable satisfaction.

The biobank project of the Estonian Genome Centre forms a part of the celebrations on the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. The leaders of the project wish to reach the level of 152,000 gene donors by the end of 2018. Every participant will get a personalised genetic report which can be used to ascertain the risk of diseases and suitable medications. In the coming years it is planned to integrate the genetic data of the Estonian Genome Centre with everyday healthcare, so that in the longer perspective the biobank will lend considerable impetus to the development of personalised medicine in Estonia.

Additional information: Annely Allik, Manager of Communication, Estonian Genome Centre, 502 9970,