Venter's HLI inks deal to access registry of 11,000 twins

J. Craig Venter

J. Craig Venter's Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) has added another piece to the data tapestry it is creating. The new addition is a registry of 11,000 twins, complete with phenotypic information and paired samples.

King's College London set up the registry in 1993 with funding from the Wellcome Trust and Arthritis Research Campaign to look at the incidence of osteoporosis and other rheumatologic diseases in a few hundred identical twins. Since then, the scope and scale of the resource--called the TwinsUK Registry--have grown. The registry now includes genome and microbiome samples paired with the phenotypes of thousands of twins aged between 16 and 98 years old.

Venter sees value in the data. "Having access to the clinical phenotype information collected by Dr. (Tim) Spector and his team will greatly enhance our database and knowledge base, and will enable the teams to collaborate on identifying correlations between phenotypes and genetic predisposition to disease and health," he said in a statement. Spector created the registry and will collaborate with HLI as part of the agreement.

HLI plans to sequence the whole genome and microbiome of up to 2,000 people and run metabolomic analyses on up to 6,000 samples from the TwinsUK Registry. The work adds another thread to HLI's huge data gathering operation, which is now reportedly sequencing 2,000 genomes a month on the two Illumina ($ILMN) HiSeq X Ten systems it bought when Venter first founded the business.

- read the release