NHGRI selects sequencing centers

n worm; the flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea; 10 more species of fruit fly; four more species of fungi; and two ciliated microorganisms, Oxytricha trifallax and Tetrahymena thermophila. Details of when those sequencing projects will begin and what centers will participate in each project are being finalized.

"The availability of the human genome sequence, as well as other genomic resources, has profoundly affected biomedical research and thinking. Information about whole genomes is now available for the first time," said NHGRI's Associate Director of Extramural Research Jane Peterson, Ph.D. "Previously, scientists were limited to gaining such information from one gene at a time. By making complete sets of genes from different types of organisms available, we can learn much more about how genes are turned on and off, and how genes interact with each other. The possibilities are endlessly exciting."

To produce a comprehensive plan for the large-scale sequencing program that will yield the most insights into human biology, NHGRI recently instituted a new process for choosing target organisms for comparative sequencing. Rather than placing the entire responsibility for advocating for the sequencing of various organisms upon individual researchers, NHGRI has established three working groups comprised of experts from across the research community. Each working group will develop a well thought-out plan for sequencing organisms that advances knowledge in one of three scientific areas: understanding the human genome, understanding the genomes of major biomedical model systems and evolutionary biology of genomes. Direct requests from researchers will also continue to be accepted and considered together with the working group plans.

"We felt a need for a more coherent approach to selecting sequencing targets. To do so, we needed to establish a process to enable members of the research community to carefully consider and discuss all the alternative tar

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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