2010 News Feature: NHGRI Provides Sneak Peek into Future of Genome Sequencing Program

National Human Genome Research Institute

National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


NHGRI provides sneak peek into future of genome sequencing program

Tentative plan expands focus on health and clinical applications of DNA sequencing

ATCG with people and stethescope
The NHGRI Large-Scale Sequencing Program comes up for renewal in fiscal year 2011 and the institute's program managers recently recommended to the National Advisory Council of Human Genome Research that the program's sequencing and analysis centers remain on line. The rationale is fairly straightforward: There is still so much to learn and the expertise provided by such centers is the most efficient way to learn it. Moreover, the current sequencing centers already have shown their ability to help this field of research transition from basic studies to those with medical value.

"This is a framework for what elements the future program will include," said Adam Felsenfeld, Ph.D., program director for NHGRI's Large-Scale Sequencing Program. "Although there are still many conversations and decisions that need to occur internally before we issue the request for applications, the main point is that we will continue our successful large-scale sequencing program."

Large-scale sequencing will not just continue, however. It will evolve. The program staff that manage the centers recommended three new areas of research, including an effort to discover the majority of genes responsible for so-called Mendelian or single-gene diseases; clinical sequencing exploration projects; and efforts to produce software tools for sequence analysis that can be used by researchers inundated by data from the new sequencing platforms, especially as their use expands into medical sequencing projects beyond the large centers.

The concept clearance for the renewal of the sequencing program was approved by the NHGRI's council at its 59th meeting on May 17-18, 2010. NHGRI staff will now begin to write the request for applications (RFA) that will be issued in fall 2010.

Currently, NHGRI's Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network, a major component of the sequencing program, is made up of the following three sequencing centers: the Broad Sequencing Platform, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge Mass.; the Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; and The Genome Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

The Large-Scale Sequencing Program will consist of the four areas below:

The concept clearance for the future of the NHGRI Large-Scale Sequencing Program may be read in full at: http://www.genome.gov/Pages/About/NACHGR/May2010AgendaDocuments/ConceptClearance-LargeScaleSequencing.pdf PDF file

More information about the current focus of the NHGRI Genome Sequencing Program (GSP) is available at www.genome.gov/10001691.

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Last Reviewed: February 28, 2012