HC Deb 06 March 1995 vol 256 cc14-5W
Mr. Redmond

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has in respect of research which has been carried out to date in the United Kingdom in respect of isolating human genes; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt

The Medical Research Council, which receives its funding from my Department, supports an extensive programme of work on the isolation and characterisation of human genes under the human genome mapping project initiative. Research is being carried out at the HGMP research centre in Cambridge, at MRC funded units—for example, the human genetics unit in Edinburgh—and through grant support to researchers in universities. In 1993–94, the council's expenditure on this research was £5.6 million, and work to exploit the fruits of this activity is being carried out under the council's "Genetic Approach to Human Health Initiative".

Considerable progress has been, and continues to be made in this area. A number of genes have already been isolated by council-supported scientist, including, for example, the gene for polycystic kidney disease.

Officials from the MRC are always willing to discuss and consider scientifically based, sound proposals. The prospects for funding of research into the isolation of human genes will therefore depend on the nature and quality of any applications received.