ULSAN, South Korea, Nov. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – UNIST’s Genomics Institute unveiled Thursday a reference genome specific to Koreans, entitled KOREF (Korean Reference). A reference genome is a genomic database that represents an example of a species’ set of genes, which allows for genetic analysis related to diseases and the development of new drugs.
According to the institute, although the current standard human reference genome is accurate, due to the fact that it’s mostly based on Caucasian and African ancestry, certain population-specific variants could be missing.
In fact, a randomly selected Korean would find some 4 million genetic variants differ compared to the standard human reference, which is reduced to 3 million when compared to KOREF, the institute said.
For this reason, the research team decided to construct a Korean-specific reference genome, which would help the future study of diseases that Koreans tend to develop more frequently than other ethnic groups. The KOREF is also the first of its kind representing a specific population, the institute added.
KOREF was developed by combining genome data of 41 Koreans (26 men, 15 women) across the country, with the team planning to expand the number to at least 10,000 samples to boost its accuracy and representativeness. The institute disclosed the data for free download on the KOREF website at www.koreanreference.org.
“KOREF will provide a genetic reference point for future life science research,” said an official.
The team’s full research findings were published in the November 24 online edition of Nature Communications.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)