The world’s largest human genome sequencing project has been for UK Biobank – a large-scale biomedical database.
The Sanger Institute has sequenced 243,633 human genomes in a record 3.5 years. Each genome is 3.05 billion pairs of DNA ‘letters’, and each genome was sequenced, on average, 30 times, as standard.
In total, the order of 21 quadrillion (21×1015) letters of DNA have been determined by Sanger’s sequencing teams. The data are now in the UK Biobank resource and will soon be available to researchers worldwide, as they look for links and patterns in the data that may correlate with disease, or tell us about how our bodies function.
The process of getting to these numbers has involved multiple teams who worked on the project between 2018 and 2022. The journey began when shipments of DNA from UK Biobank arrived at the Institute.