NEW YORK, Sept. 12 - The cow and the dog joined the genome A-list today.
Last spring, the National Human Genome Research Institute drew up an official register of high-priority genomes to be sequenced. Chimps, chickens, bees, and various fungi made the cut. More familiar quadrupeds did not.
In its second round of deliberations, though, the NHGRI's blue-ribbon panel decided to add these two mammals to the list. As a result, their genomes will be put next in line at the high-volume sequencing centers the institute supports.
Decoding the bovine genome could make for better steaks, healthier cattle, and safer food, said the backers of the cow genome project. This sequencing effort was proposed by a consortium of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M, the US Department of Agriculture, and the University of Illinois.
Dog sequencers, led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and at Whitehead, say that understanding the canine genome can allow for improved understanding of human health and behavior.
The NHGRI also picked a ciliated protozoan, Oxytricha trifallax, and upgraded the lower metazoan Trichoplax adhaerens to "moderate priority" status.
To prioritize sequencing operations, the NHGRI panel reviews white paper submissions from researchers that plead the case for various genomes. Organisms selected as high-priority don't automatically get funding for sequencing, but are slated for decoding as soon as lab time and funds become available.
For more information, see the NHGRI sequencing proposal website.