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The Baltic country aims to develop personalized medical reports available to healthcare practitioners through national online portal.3 April 2018
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In a move likely to further cement its position as one of the leading digital societies in the world, Estonia has launched a recruitment program for 100,000 of its residents willing to have their genome mapped, according to a press release from the University of Tartu’s Institute of Genomics.
The new participants will join more than 50,000 other Estonians who consented to offer DNA samples to the country’s national biobank through a program that began in 2000, The Atlantic writes.
The aim of the program, which is a joint project of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the National Institute for Health Development, and the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu, is to “boost the development of personalized medicine in Estonia and thus contribute to the advancement of preventive healthcare," said Jevgeni Ossinovski, the minister of health and labor.
Unlike the other more than 120 biobanks across the world, the Estonian one aims to develop personalized medicine instead of focusing on genome research. The plan is for these DNA volunteers to then receive information through a family doctor on their genetic risk for specific diseases and advice on how to adjust their lifestyle to stay healthy, writes Futurism, a technology website.
Another difference is that the activities of the Estonian biobanking system are strictly regulated. Passed in 2000, the Estonian Human Genes Research Act establishes the confidentiality of the identity of gene donors, gives them the right to consent for participation in studies, and ensures that the data is “processed in compliance with the highest standards of data protection.”
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