Largest DNA mapping effort in U.S. history launched in Utah

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 13, 2019

Intermountain Healthcare and ‘Decode Genetics’ have launched the largest DNA mapping effort to date in the United States to help make connections between genetics and human disease.

The initiative is called ‘Heredigene Population Study’.

It’s going to take DNA from 500,000 people to hopefully make a global impact on healthcare.

For one Intermountain Healthcare patient, Floyd Hatch, this initiative means a lot for his family.

“My family’s chromosome chain, there is an errant gene that is probably most likely going to cause problems with the heart and nothing else,” said Hatch.

Intermountain Healthcare says the information gained from this research will make an impact on medications, healthcare, and the way treatments are administered to patients, so people like the Hatch family can better understand and treat their health issues.

“I’ve had two siblings pass away as a result of heart failure, now this study that we’re talking about today is going to help us understand if they relate,” said Hatch.

The way it works, a person will sign the consent form and will have two tubes of blood collected which will immediately be de-identified and anonymized.

“Those samples will be analyzed, some of them will have whole genome mapping performed here at Intermountain Healthcare and half of them will be analyzed by our collaborators at decode genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland,” said Lincoln Nadauld, MD, Ph.D. the chief of Precision Healthcare.

Participants will then have the option to receive their genetic results if a gene mutation is identified.

“ Now we’re already thinking about the grandchildren, our 15th is on the way and it’s a huge concern, what’s going to happen with them and who knows, the little ones have not had their blood drawn yet but I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time and that will happen with all of them as well,” said Hatch.

Several people have already signed up within the first few hours of the program.

They hope to have 500,000 people within five years.

This initiative kicked off Wednesday and people can sign up for the program for free.