Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

NHGRI Embarks on ENCODE Project to Add Functional Elements to the Genome

NEW YORK, Feb. 10 -   The National Human Genome Research Institute is laying the groundwork for a new, large-scale post-sequencing research consortium. The project, called ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements), is still in the planning stages, but the first phase, a pilot project to assess currently available functional genomics technologies, will kick off in March, according to Peter Good, NIH program director.


The NHGRI will hold a meeting on March 7 to officially launch the pilot project and to educate potential participants about the program's goals, Good said. The goal of the pilot project, he explained, will be "to try and determine what technologies are available for the functional annotation of a genome, and to do the annotations in a high-throughput way. Ideally, we'd like to be able to develop new computational tools that will improve the predictions."


An organizing committee has already decided upon several target regions of the human genome - well-characterized regions as well as randomly selected areas - upon which the consortium participants can test their tools. The NHGRI is hoping to draw participants from academia as well as industry. Good noted that the project presents an opportunity for commercial tool shops to showcase the value of their technologies. Peer-reviewed research grants will be awarded, but Good did not disclose the program's budget.


Ultimately, the plan is to functionally annotate the entire human genome. A consortium database will be created to hold information on all human protein-coding and non-protein-coding genes, promoters and regulatory sequences, and determinants of chromosome structure and function.


Further information on the ENCODE project is available here.


The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.