(ECNS) - BGI, a Shenzhen-based company principally engaged in diagnosis and research related to genomics, has completed an enormous genome study of more than 140,000 pregnant Chinese women, the largest of its kind for the Chinese population to date.
Xu Xun, president of BGI Research and lead author of the study, said the findings demonstrate the great value and potential of accumulating non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) data for worldwide medical and genetic analyses.
The 141,431 participants were recruited from 31 administrative divisions in China between 2012 and 2013, according to the study published in the international academic journal Cell on Oct. 4.
The study offered insights into the genetic structure and history of the Chinese population, revealed 16 unknown genetic associations, and identified six loci showing genome-wide significance across latitude, among other findings.
The study showed that the present-day distribution of alleles is a function of both ancient migration and very recent population movements. Researchers identified a unique pattern of circulating viral DNA in plasma with high prevalence of hepatitis B and other clinically relevant maternal infections.