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NYU's Center for Comparative Functional Genomics part of $57 million MOD-ENCODE consortium

New York University biologist Fabio Piano, an associate professor at NYUs Center for Comparative Functional Genomics, was selected by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to lead one of the teams charged with decoding the genome. NHGRI is an institute within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The award to Piano, a professor in NYUs Biology Department, and the nine other researchers leading genome centers across the nation, will create a consortium of scientists who will collaborate in a four-year, $57 million scientific endeavor to understand every part of the genome needed for organisms to develop and thrive, as announced by NIH today.

This four-year, multi-institutional collaborative genome project called "MOD-ENCODE" aims to identify all the functional elements (ENCODE) in the genomes of the model organisms (MOD) fruit fly and round worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as models to understand the functional elements and to shed light on the function of these elements in humans.

The effort will build upon the foundation laid by the ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) consortium, which is preparing to build a comprehensive catalog, or "parts list," of all elements in the human genome crucial to biological function. In addition to genes that code for proteins, these functional elements include: non-protein-coding genes; regulatory elements involved in the control of gene transcription; and DNA sequences that mediate the structure and dynamics of chromosomes. For more information about NHGRIs ENCODE project, go to www.genome.gov/ENCODE.

"We are making great strides in identifying functional elements in the human genome, but we still dont know much about their biological relevance," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins. "This parallel effort in the fruit fly and worm genomes will provide us with information about the functional landscape of two key model
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Contact: James Devitt
james.devitt@nyu.edu
212-998-6808
New York University
14-May-2007


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