ENCODE consortium publishes scientific strategy

e complexity of the problem. No single experimental approach can be used to identify all functional elements, and many current methods may not provide a cost effective means of finding functional elements in a target as large as the human genome. Furthermore, many functional elements are only active in certain types of cells or at certain stages of development, which means it may be necessary to analyze many different types of human cells. In addition, if a truly comprehensive inventory is to be created, more work needs to be done to learn about functional elements not surveyed in the pilot project, including centromeres (the middles of chromosomes) and telomeres (the ends of chromosomes). In their Science article, ENCODE researchers set forth their plans for addressing these and other challenges.

NHGRI has designated the ENCODE project as a community resource project, which means that all data generated for this project will be deposited in free, public databases as soon as they are experimentally verified. "During the Human Genome Project, our policy of rapid data release enabled researchers to take advantage of human genomic sequence data as soon as they were produced. Similarly, the ENCODE consortium will make valuable data rapidly available for use by scientists around the world," said Mark S. Guyer, Ph.D., director of NHGRI's Division of Extramural Research.

Also today, NHGRI announced the award of a second set of ENCODE technology development grants, which are intended to complement the first set of technology development grants made in 2003 by adding more novel methods and technologies to the consortium's "tool box." "These grants are aimed at broadening the types of functional elements that we are studying under ENCODE and also expanding the portfolio of technologies that we can apply to them," said Peter Good, Ph.D., NHGRI's program director for genome informatics.

Recipients of the 2004 ENCODE Technology Development Grants a

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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