The Japanese government announced its intention to double spending on genome-related research over the next five years. Announced by five science-related ministries, the five year plan will focus particularly on analysing the human genome and creating a database of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the Japanese population, which could lead to new drugs and diagnostic techniques. Recognising that Japan is lagging severely behind the West in biotechnology and genome research, the government has also pledged to set up national centres for genome research and increase support for small businesses carrying out innovative research with commercial potential. Japan's current contribution to the Human Genome Project accounts for just 8 per cent of the total global effort and the annual genomics spending is 560 billion yen, less than a quarter of that of the US.
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Japan declares five-year plan to double genome research funds