Thermo Fisher Scientific and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Announce the Axiom Africa Array for Medical and Population Genomics

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Thermo Fisher Scientific and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Announce the Axiom Africa Array for Medical and Population Genomics

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Thermo Fisher Scientific today announced the commercial launch of the Applied Biosystems Axiom Africa Array for medical and population genomics to accelerate and support initiatives in global health and population research. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Thermo Fisher Scientific combined their respective expertise in human genomic analysis and informatics to co-develop the Axiom Africa Array. The array provides capture of genome-wide variation in African populations, as well as Asian and European populations.

 (PRNewsfoto/Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.)

Populations from Africa have the greatest diversity in their genomes and the highest numbers of continental and population-specific genetic variants. Due to this diversity, there is a critical need to build new genetic tools to enable medical and population genetic research studies across the region—to maximize opportunities for discovery, biological insights into disease and to reconstruct population history of the region.

To create a new roadmap for genomic studies in Africa, the African Genome resource was initiated through a collaborative network of scientists, primarily from the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research. Together with African partner institutes, including the Medical Research Council/Ugandan Virus Research Institute and the University of KwaZulu Natal, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute with the University of Cambridge co-led the whole-genome sequencing effort of 4,956 individuals from populations in Africa to create the African Genome Resources (AGR) haplotype reference panel.

The AGR whole-genome sequencing effort encompassed populations from across Africa, including from Ethiopia (Gumuz, Wolayta, Amhara, Oromo, Somali), Egypt, Namibia (Nama/Khoesan) and South Africa (Zulu). The genomes of 2,000 individuals from Uganda (Baganda, Banyarwanda, Barundi and others) were also included. The AGR resource now contains 94.5 million SNPs, of which 21.7 million are unique to AGR.

The Axiom Africa Array leverages the content from the unique AGR and offers a comprehensive imputation-aware genotyping microarray containing 925,000 variants. The array tags at least 90 percent of common genetic variation in 12 diverse African populations. It also includes pre-selected evidence-based genetic variants important in the context of disease research and pharmacogenomics in global populations. The Axiom Africa Array is supported by the AGR, which integrated with 1,000 genomes phase 3, provides a reference panel for imputation.

“Working as a partnership across Africa and globally has led to the development of the African Genome Resource, enabling the development of new tools to understand population disease and health across the region,” said Dr. Manjinder Sandhu, Senior Group Leader, Global Health & Populations Group at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge.

“We are pleased to see our efforts in this area being translated to a genotyping array that we expect will become the standard for large-scale medical and population genetic studies in Africa, and  globally—demonstrated by its ability to also capture genome variation in European and Asian populations.”

“We partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to develop the Africa Array on the Applied Biosystems Axiom genotyping technology because of its established portfolio of array designs globally, including world-leading biobank initiatives.”

The Axiom Africa Array shares all the same attributes as the rest of the Axiom genotyping arrays, including powerful imputation-aware algorithms.  This imputation technology has been applied for developing several biobank arrays in various longitudinal cohort studies.

“We pride ourselves on being the platform of choice to support global medical and population research initiatives that aim to understand genetic risk factors for disease development and on contributing to advancements in medical research for millions of individuals,” expressed Dr. Laurent Bellon, vice president and general manager, microarray business, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “The Axiom Africa Array, powered by the Axiom Genotyping Solution, will continue to drive precision medicine research initiatives around the world.”

For additional information please visit the Thermo Fisher Scientific booth #631 at the 2017 Annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics and the poster presentation PgmNr 2925/F on the Applied Biosystems™ Axiom™ Africa Array or visit us at

About Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of more than $20 billion and approximately 65,000 employees globally. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics, deliver medicines to market and increase laboratory productivity. Through our premier brands – Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services – we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive services. For more information, please visit

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world’s leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.

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Mauricio Minotta
Thermo Fisher Scientific
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