A new genetics project could help "unlock a series of secrets about devastating diseases", the NHS says, SIA reports quoting the BBC.
Under the scheme, 11 Genomics Medicine Centres are being set up in English hospitals to gather DNA samples to help devise targeted treatments for a wide range of diseases. It is focusing on cancer and rare genetic diseases.
The aim is to sequence 100,000 genomes within three years in order to develop new tests and drugs. Doctors will offer suitable patients the opportunity to take part in the scheme.
They will have to agree to have their genetic code and medical records - stripped of anything that could identify them - made available to drugs companies and researchers.
Up to 25,000 cancer patients will have the genetic code of their healthy tissue compared to the genetic code of their tumour.
A giant game of spot-the-difference will then take place to identify the precise mutations in DNA that are causing a patient's tumour.
This would allow targeted medicines to be developed.