SAN DIEGO, Jan. 14 - The end of the genomics era has been greatly exaggerated, Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, told hundreds of scientists on Monday at the 10th annual Plant, Animal & Microbe Genomes conference here.
"We're not in the post-genome era and we're not in the post-sequencing era," said Collins. "Sequencing is over and done with? Think again."
"The most challenging part [is] how to decide what to sequence, how do we utilize the capacity that has been built?" he said.
Collins' question was not rhetorical, as he reminded conference attendees that Feb.10 is the first deadline for scientists to submit white papers to NHGRI to nominate a new organism for sequencing. Requests will be screened by a panel, and if the request passes muster based on "biological rationale and strategic considerations" it joins the queue at a sequencing center.
New deadlines to submit white papers will occur every four months, said Collins.
"This is an experiment [to decide] where to put our sequencing muscle," he explained.
What will the experiment yield? "Five to 10 years of vigorous activity at the end of which genomes that most of you care about" will have been sequenced, Collins said.