Genomic Variation Identification, Association and Function in Human Health
Participants will help NHGRI develop a 5-10 year strategy to advance our ability to find and characterize genomic variants, the genomic elements in which they reside or that they affect and understand the effects of those variants on human health and disease.
We seek recommendations for projects, community resources, knowledge, and research directions that NHGRI should pursue, as well as consideration of key ongoing efforts that should be continued or revised. We also seek recommendations for mid-scale projects that could be initiated in the next year (e.g.,, ideas that build on the ENCODE Project and the Genome Sequencing Programs) and long-term projects that may require pilot projects, development of technologies or resources and establishment of collaborations.
Hilton Washington, D.C.
Rockville Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
Relating genomic variation to human phenotype is a central issue in genomics.
There are several ways to consider this problem, but the elements are: identifying genomic variants; associating them with regulatory elements, genes and phenotypes; and understanding gene, regulatory element and variant function. Within this, or added to it, would be an understanding of epistasis and environmental influences on genotype.
There are now many individual examples (genes/phenotypes) where we have a reasonably detailed understanding of the relationship between variant and disease- these have defined the paradigm. But these so far mostly represent simpler cases: Mendelian (i.e., very strong effect) traits; diseases where the physiology is straightforward (e.g., inborn errors of metabolism); and some cancers.
But the aim of human genomics is to solve this problem at scale for all human traits that have an inherited component, and in so doing, gain biological insight into the nature of inherited disease, insight into mechanisms of variant, regulatory element and gene function, and ultimately to provide a rational foundation for clinical applications. To develop approaches to do this, NHGRI seeks to understand the state-of-the-art, gaps in the field (knowledge, methods, data and resources), find better ways to integrate the information from the separate elements, and identify promising new approaches to address the general problem.
This workshop is one of a series of activities devoted to strategic planning for NHGRI. The recommendations forthcoming from the workshop discussions will inform the NHGRI "2020 Vision for Genomics" Strategic Planning efforts.
The workshop is divided into four parts:
- Setting the Stage: "Vision" discussions to imagine what the field can (or must) be a decade from now.
- Scientific Issues: The current state-of-the-art to identify challenges and opportunities:
• Day 1: variant discovery and association with traits
• Day 2: functional element discovery and characterization, and the interpretation of how variants effect function
• Breakout sessions will extend the discussions, raising specific examples that NHGRI could pursue (e.g., specific projects, methods, knowledge, resources, data, etc.)
- What should NHGRI do?: Integration of the recommendations from the preceding days; placing them in a wider context; identifying specific things NHGRI should do.
- Synthesis and Prioritization: Prioritization among the projects, directions, resources, etc. recommended during the workshop.