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NHGRI Pledges $420M to Support Genome Sequencing Centers; Adoption of New Tech Encouraged to Reduce Costs

NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (GenomeWeb News) - The National Human Genome Research Institute has allocated $130 million for fiscal year 2006 to renew its large-scale sequencing program, according to a request for applications published on the National Institutes of Health website.


NHGRI allocated up to $420 million in total costs, to be awarded over four years, the solicitation said. The institute expects to make three to five awards, for a maximum period of four years. The earliest anticipated start date is Nov. 1, 2006.


NHGRI is encouraging the adoption of next-generation sequencing technologies that it expects to reduce the cost of large-scale sequencing projects by five-fold or more over the next four years. The institute "recognizes that the renewal of its genomic sequencing program comes at a time when significant advance(s) in genomic sequencing technology can be anticipated," the RFA said. "In renewing the sequencing program, NHGRI intends to provide adequate funding to encourage sequencing centers to explore adoption of the new technologies. Therefore, the applicant should discuss the new sequencing technologies and should describe any plans s/he has for implementation of one or more of them."


The RFA said that improvements in sequencing technology "have allowed the NHGRI to decrease the amount of funding for the program in each of the last four years, from a high of over $180 million to its current FY 2006 level of $133 million, while more than tripling output over that time."


NHGRI said in the RFA that centers funded under the program will continue a number of comparative genomic sequencing projects that are generating data for annotating the human genome, "while an increasing fraction of the sequencing capacity will be directed to medical sequencing, which is expected to result in the identification of genomic changes implicated in heritable disease and the elucidation of the genetic changes associated with cancer."


The program will also focus on sequencing eukaryotic pathogens and "vectors of human disease," NHGRI said.


Letters of intent are due Jan. 11, and applications must be received by April 11, 2006.


More information can be found here.

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