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NHGRI adds 18 organisms to sequencing pipeline

BETHESDA, Md., Wed., Aug. 4, 2004 As part of its ongoing effort to enhance understanding of the human genome, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health, announced today that the Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network has received the green light to begin sequencing 18 strategically selected organisms, including the orangutan, African savannah elephant and domestic cat.

In a shift from NHGRI's previous procedure of choosing sequencing targets one at a time on the basis of proposals from individuals or groups of scientists, the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research (NACHGR), a federally chartered committee that advises NHGRI on program priorities and goals, recently approved a comprehensive plan that identified two groups of organisms on the basis of their collective scientific merits.

"Science tells us that the most effective approach we currently have to identify the essential functional and structural components of our own genome is to compare it with the genomes of other organisms. With each new genome that we sequence, we move closer to the goal of finding all of the crucial elements of the human genome involved in development, health and disease," said Mark S. Guyer, Ph.D., director of NHGRI's Division of Extramural Research. "We hope to accelerate that process with our new sequencing strategy that identifies the organisms, or sets of organisms, with the greatest potential to fill gaps in our knowledge.

The first group announced today consists of nine mammals. They were selected because each organism represents an important position on the evolutionary tree and therefore will contribute a sequence that will be particularly important in helping to interpret the human genome.

The data from seven of these mammalian genomes will be used primarily in the identification of features that are similar, or conserved, among the genomes of humans and o
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
4-Aug-2004


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