The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched a public research consortium named ENCODE, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements, in September 2003, to carry out a project to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence.
The pilot phase tested and compared existing methods to rigorously analyze a defined portion of the human genome sequence. It was organized as an open consortium (See: ENCODE Pilot Project: Participants and Projects) and brought together investigators with diverse backgrounds and expertise to evaluate the relative merits of each of a diverse set of techniques, technologies and strategies. The concurrent technology development phase of the project aimed to develop new high throughput methods to identify functional elements. The goal of these efforts was to identify a suite of approaches that would allow the comprehensive identification of all the functional elements in the human genome. Through the ENCODE pilot, NHGRI assessed the abilities of different approaches to be scaled up for an effort to analyze the entire human genome and to find gaps in the ability to identify functional elements in genomic sequence.
The ENCODE Pilot Project process involved close interactions between computational and experimental scientists to evaluate a number of methods for annotating the human genome. A set of regions (See: ENCODE Pilot Project: Target Selection) representing approximately 1 percent (30 Mb) of the human genome was selected as the target for the pilot project and was analyzed by all ENCODE Pilot Project investigators. All data generated by ENCODE participants on these regions was rapidly released into public databases. The ENCODE Pilot Project Consortium was open to all academic, government and private sector scientists interested in participating in an open process to facilitate the comprehensive interpretation of the human genome sequence and who agreed to the criteria for participation for the project.
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
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Last Updated: October 18, 2012