Comparative Genome Evolution

Program Rationale

The Comparative Genome Evolution (CGE) program selects new sequencing targets - from among nearly all animal (other than mammal), fungal, protist, and some prokaryote taxa - where the genomic data can address a broad and diverse range of basic biological and biomedical questions and issues, including:

  • What are the genomic changes underlying the major evolutionary anatomical and physiological innovations evident in the tree of life, leading to humans (for example, the advent of multicellularity; major modifications of animal body plans; the advent of a myelinated nervous system)?
  • What are the genomic underpinnings of rapid morphological, physiological, and behavioral changes?
  • What are the functional elements in important model systems (for example, providing data for comparative genomics in clusters of Drosophila species)? What can those data tell us about how to do comparative analysis with larger (mammalian) genomes?
  • Providing data sets for basic population genomics in major model systems (e.g. Drosophila, Sacharromyces).
  • Providing basic genomic data about human eukaryotic pathogens and disease vectors for biomedical research; comparative genomics of pathogens to understand adaptations (e.g., host range; vectoring capacity).
  • Providing basic genome sequence data for major and emerging biomedical research organisms.
  • Providing basic genome sequence data for a pilot effort to understand the human microbiome.

The CGE sequencing targets and initiatives vary considerably in their type and scale.

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Comparative Genome Evolution Initiatives

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Active Sequencing Projects

  • For more information on the progress of all sequencing projects, including the rest of the CGE projects, please see Approved Sequencing Targets.

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Process for Selecting New CGE Sequencing Targets

In 2003, The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) established a Comparative Genomics Evolution working group (See Group Rosters) to develop a scientific program for comparative genome evolution to would guide prioritization and species selection. The CGE working group developed the overarching rationales for the program, as described above. In addition, the CGE working group encouraged the scientific community to submit white papers proposing new sequencing targets. All individual proposed targets and initiatives are reviewed by the Coordinating Committee for sequencing target selection and subject to approval by the National Advisory Council on Human Genome Research. Summaries of the original working group reports are available at Summaries of Working Group Proposals.

Important Notice of Programmatic Change: Because of changing programmatic priorities, and because two of the major areas of emphasis for the CGE (Pathogens and Vectors; Human Microbiome) have "spun off" into their own separate programs, NHGRI made the decision that the CGE working group will remain active only through May 2007.

NHGRI will maintain its commitment to all sequencing targets already approved.

Even though the CGE working group will no longer operate after May 2007, NHGRI will continue to maintain an active program in the CGE areas outlined above, and will continue to accept community white paper proposals in this general area. Those who wish to submit white papers should be cognizant that NHGRI's priorities are changing, which may effect the programmatic enthusiasm for some proposed sequencing targets. To help guide the community, NHGRI will outline areas of specific NHGRI interest (See Opportunities for New Sequencing Proposals, below).

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Opportunities for New Sequencing Proposals

Currently, there are no formal calls for new proposals or outlines of specific areas of interest for sequencing targets under the CGE program. However, NHGRI will consider ideas for developing target selection proposals within this area from any interested member of the community. Please send inquiries to the program contacts listed below.

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Program Contacts

Adam Felsenfeld, Ph.D.
Program Director
E-mail: felsenfa@mail.nih.gov

Lu Wang, Ph.D.
Program Director
E-mail: wanglu@mail.nih.gov

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Last Reviewed: February 19, 2012