NHGRI-Supported Research Earns High Impact Ranking

Covers of Nature, Science, Cell magazinesScientific papers arising from biomedical research projects supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) rank among the world's most influential, a recent independent analysis found.

The analysis, published in the January/February 2008 issue of Thomson Scientific's Science Watch, showed NHGRI to be the institution with the second highest "citation impact" in the rapidly expanding field of molecular biology and genetics research from 2002-2006. During the five-year period, papers with NHGRI authorship averaged 337.5 citations per paper, trailing only the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) with 414.5.

The most-cited paper in the survey — a landmark 2002 publication in the journal Nature on the mouse genome — was referenced more than 1,700 times in other scientific publications. NHGRI, along with the Wellcome Trust in England, funded the effort to sequence and analyze the mouse genome.

In addition to its No. 2 institutional ranking, NHGRI helped to support a significant number of the individual researchers recognized by Thomson Scientific for their "high-impact" papers in molecular biology and genetics.

The researcher who captured the No. 1 individual ranking was Eric Lander, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. A principal investigator on NHGRI-funded grants, Dr. Lander authored 22 high-impact papers that garnered 9,710 citations over the five-year period.

Also listed among the top 10 molecular biology/genetics authors were four other principal investigators on NHGRI grants: W. James Kent, Ph.D., of UCSC; Mark J. Daly, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; David Haussler, Ph.D., of UCSC; and David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., of the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General.

"These statistics are impressive. Congratulations to everyone involved in the research that made these papers possible," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "This affirms the transformative impact that large-scale projects and individual researchers supported by NHGRI are having on biomedical research around the globe. Still, much more remains to be done. We at NHGRI are working hard to catalyze the next generation of exciting advances."

In addition to the mouse genome paper, major papers related to NHGRI-supported genome sequencing projects published from 2002-2006 included: detailed analyses of the sequences of various human chromosomes; an analysis of the finished human genome sequence; and analyses of the genomes of rat, chicken, chimpanzee, dog, rhesus macaque, honey bee and sea urchin. Researchers from UCSC and Broad Institute played crucial roles in many of those analyses. Researchers within NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research made important contributions to the dog genome project, as well as published pioneering work comparing the genomes of multiple species of organisms.

Also, NHGRI was instrumental in the success of the International HapMap Project, which published the first version of its catalog of common human genetic variation in the journal Nature in October 2005. Among the scientific leaders of that project were researchers from Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.

NHGRI, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports a broad range of research aimed at exploring the structure and function of the human genome, and understanding its role in health and disease.

Last updated: November 04, 2010