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Janis Klovins

Professor, Head of the Scientific Council Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre, Latvia

Janis Klovins is head of the Scientific Council at the Latvian Biomedical research and Study Centre and Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Latvia. From 2016 to 2020, he was the chairman of the Latvian Science Council. He is also a full member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and a member of numerous professional and advisory committees. Janis Klovins obtained his PhD at Leiden University in 1999. He performed his postdoc research at Uppsala University, from 2001 to 2004. Since 2006 he led the establishment of the Genome Database of Latvian Population, the national biobank. Recent research activities of Prof. Klovins are concerned with genomics and microbiome research in the Latvian population. Prof. Klovins is a Latvian representative in BBMRI-ERIC, EMBL and the European 1+ Million Genomes initiative.

Building the Latvian Genomic Reference: Insights into Genetic Diversity and Applications of Disease Risk Prediction

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has become increasingly accessible, yet the representation of human genetic diversity remains inadequate due to the underrepresentation of certain populations. Developing the population-scale reference database of Latvian genetic variation is filling the gap in European genomes and improve human genomics research. We have performed a high-coverage WGS on more than 3000 individuals selected from the Latvian biobank. We present a first assessment of variation in Latvian genomes and have developed a first population-specific imputation reference panel. Our analysis reveals distinctive genetic clustering within European subpopulations, with the Latvian cohort exhibiting a significant Western Hunter-gatherer ancestry. We further demonstrate the utility of this dataset by assessing polygenic risk scores for metabolic and cardiovascular disorder prediction also in the context in cohorts with inherited disease phenotypes. Ultimately, our work inaugurates the first WGS-based Latvian reference genome, poised to integrate with the Genome of Europe dataset under the 1+M Genomes initiative. This resource is a stride towards precision medicine and augments the global collection of genomic data, enhancing our grasp of human genetic variability.