Academia Sinica yesterday announced that the Taiwan Biobank, established in 2012, has collected biological information from more than 120,000 volunteers.
The biobank aims to collect genetic samples from more than 200,000 people by 2024 to aid researchers in finding the causes of chronic diseases, as well as their treatment and prevention, Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) said at the opening ceremony of a symposium on biopreservation and biobanking.
The two-day symposium, cohosted by Academia Sinica’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia, and the Taiwan Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking, focuses on the sustainability of human biobanks, precision medicine and other issues.
Participants are also to hold a round-table discussion of biomedical industry development, ethics, governance and regulations.
The Taiwan Biobank has collected biological data from people aged 30 to 70, including their height, weight, body fat, hipline, waistline, blood pressure, pulse, bone density and pulmonary function, as well as blood sample (30ml) and urine sample (15ml), for genotyping, Academia Sinica said.
Participants were also asked about their lifestyle, diet, living environment, fertility history, and personal and family medical history.
The total length of the human genome is made up of more than 3 billion DNA base pairs, and about 650,000 genetic loci in Taiwanese people can be identified through genotyping, Academia Sinica said, adding that by cross-referencing 650,000 genetic loci with other risk factors, it identified 41 highly precise prognostic biomarkers of diabetes in 2015.
The Taiwan Biobank is the largest infrastructure for Taiwan’s biomedical development, and is the only ethnic biobank in the nation with long-term traceability, Liao said.
The number of voluntary participants has exceeded 120,000, and genotyping and gene chip analysis on more than 100,000 people have been accomplished, which are provided for research and industrial analysis application, Academia Sinica said.
Also present at yesterday’s ceremony were Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), Taiwan Biobank Project director Lee Te-chang (李德章), National Health Research Institutes distinguished researcher Tsai Shih-feng (蔡世峯), Taiwan Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking chairman Ho Hong-nerng (何弘能) and nearly 100 academics.
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
‘IMPORTANT PARTNER’: The new guidelines aim to encourage US engagement with Taiwan, which reflects a deepening relationship, the US Department of State said The US Department of State on Friday issued new guidelines governing US officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts, a move welcomed by Taipei as turning a new page in bilateral relations. Shortly before leaving office, then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Jan. 9 announced the cancelation of previous contact guidelines, which he said were “self-imposed restrictions” that attempted to appease the Chinese Communist Party regime in Beijing. However, the status of the guidelines has been unclear since US President Joe Biden entered the White House. Asked about the issue during a legislative session on Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu
Those needing to travel abroad should be able to buy a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month at the earliest, pending an official announcement next week, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said yesterday. An expected 5,000 to 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are to be set aside for purchase by those with a specified need to travel, said Chuang, who is also the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) spokesman. Whether doses would be limited to business travelers or could include leisure travelers needs further discussion, he said, adding that a vaccination timeline is to be
‘IDEAL FIT’: A report on Sunday said that the Canadian government threatened to pull its support and funding from the HFX if the award was given to the president The government would respect the decision of the organizer of the John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service on whether it plans to award a prize to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. The statement was issued after US Web site Politico reported a day earlier that the Canadian government had warned the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) not to give the award to Tsai for fear of provoking Beijing. “The ministry believes that if the Halifax International Security Forum confers the prize upon President Tsai, it would be an affirmation and honor for both