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Estonian Genome Project moves forward with funding
Edward R. Winstead


Funding has been secured to launch a pilot study for the Estonian Genome Project, whose goal is to create a national database of genetic and health information within five years through the voluntary participation of the Estonian people. The pilot study will be used to evaluate the overall feasibility of the larger project and will focus on specific issues such as the quality and security of the data collection.

Flag of Estonia

For the pilot study, researchers will collect tissue samples and health information from 10,000 volunteers in three Estonian counties: Saare, Lääne-Viru and Tartu. The cost of the study is 2.5 million US dollars. Funds will be used to create research laboratories, facilities for storing tissue samples, and computer resources necessary for managing the gene bank, as well as pay for the collection of information.

The Estonian Genome Project Foundation, a non-profit organization that oversees the project, has until now received mostly public money. The pilot study will be financed largely by investors of EGeen International, a US corporation, according to a statement by the Foundation. Agreements regulating the implementation and financing of the new project were signed on December 31, 2001. In accordance with the agreement, EGeen has made the first of five payments for the pilot study.

See related GNN article
»Give and Take—Estonia's New Model for a National Gene Bank

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Estonian Genome Project concluded financing agreements. Press release, Estonian Genome Project Foundation, January 2, 2002.

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