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ENCODE consortium publishes scientific strategy

BETHESDA, Md., Thurs., Oct. 21, 2004 A research consortium organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today published a paper in the journal Science detailing the scientific rationale and strategy behind its quest to produce a comprehensive catalog of all parts of the human genome crucial to biological function. Also today, NHGRI announced the award of $5.5 million in technology development grants to provide new tools for the pioneering effort.

In a peer-reviewed article published in the Oct. 22 issue of Science, the ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) consortium outlines its plans for achieving its ambitious goal of building a "parts list" of all sequence-based functional elements in the human DNA sequence. The list will include: protein-coding genes; non-protein-coding genes; regulatory elements involved in the control of gene transcription; and DNA sequences that mediate chromosomal structure and dynamics. The ENCODE researchers also anticipate they may uncover additional functional elements that have yet to be recognized.

"Creating this monumental reference work will help us mine and fully utilize the human genome sequence. Such knowledge will lead to a far deeper understanding of human biology and stimulate the development of new strategies for improving human health," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

While the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the publication of the finished human genome sequence in Nature just this week, marked significant scientific achievements, these are only the first steps toward the ultimate goal of using information about the human genome sequence to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. Over the past several years, researchers have made major strides in using DNA sequence data to help find genes, which are the parts of the genome that code for proteins. The protein-coding co
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
21-Oct-2004


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