NHGRI funds two new centers of excellence in genomic science

BETHESDA, MD, July 31, 2002 -- The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has awarded two new grants in its Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) program, a unique research effort that assembles interdisciplinary teams of scientists to explore genomic function. The two new CEGS sites are at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif., and the Molecular Sciences Institute, Berkeley, Calif.; each will receive about $3 million a year for the next five years.

"The CEGS program brings together teams of investigators from different disciplines to encourage innovation and lay the groundwork for new genomics approaches to the study of human biology and disease," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. "The institute fosters these extraordinary collaborations because we believe they will produce important and surprising insights into genomics."

NHGRI awarded the first three CEGS grants in the fall of 2001, two to the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., and a third to Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Information on the earlier grants can be found at http://www.genome.gov/page.cfm?pageID=10002207.

For the first new CEGS, William S. Talbot, Ph.D., at Stanford University, leads a team examining the genomic basis of vertebrate diversity, through experimentation with two model organisms, the three-spine stickleback and the zebrafish. The research will try to explain how changes at the genetic level result in the rich variety of designs among vertebrates.

The three-spine stickleback is a fish known for its tremendous variability in size, physiology, and behavior. Although this variability resulted in the classification of distinct stickleback populations as different species, sticklebacks from different groups can be crossbred in the laboratory and produce fertile offspring. A genetic

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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