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NHGRI to Fund Development of Genomics Community Resources

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Human Genome Research Institute said yesterday it plans to fund efforts to develop new resources that the genomics community will be able to use to advance its research.

NHGRI said it wants to support development and distribution of resources such as genomic informatics resources, including databases, ontologies, and sets of analytical tools; collections of genomic features like structural variants or functional genomic elements; and standard data types that are produced for centralized sample sets, such as the 1,000 Genomes resource.

Shared and open genomics resources like these have been major contributors to the genomics research community because they allow investigators to compare different methods and results using the same sets of samples and reagents. It also enables them to work with integrated and documented sets of analysis tools and integrate multiple types of data, and to save money by avoiding redundancies. NHGRI-funded databases such as the Genome Ontology and PhenX resources are examples of these types of programs, the institute said.

The community resources NHGRI will fund under these grants will have certain key characteristics: They will fill a demonstrable need and have a wide impact beyond the genomics field; they will be comprehensive, such as including the entire genome or all the genes of an organism; they will make data or materials available to all researchers in a user-friendly format; and they will be unique resources that do not duplicate ones that are currently available. Applicants also will be expected to actively disseminate the data and resources they develop to the wider genomics research community.

The projects may include development of genome informatics resources; collections of coordinated tools and frameworks for analyzing genomic data; new community data standards and ontologies that will be used widely by genomics researchers; collections of genomic data about specific genomic features, such as protein interactions and functional genomic elements; and collections of samples or other biological materials, such as sets of cell lines, DNA clones, and gene regulatory region knockout resources, and these materials ideally will be deposited in a standard repository.

NHGRI said the grants will support these projects for five years. It has not set a fixed limit for the grant budgets, and it has not disclosed the number of projects it intends to support.

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