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NIH Launches Project to Set Agenda for Sequencing Genomes

BETHESDA, Md., Feb 24 - A new project at the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center will help determine which organisms' genomes to sequence next, said NISC Director Eric Green.

“We volunteered to be the scouting party,” Green said at a meeting of the American Medical Writers Association at NIH.

After the meeting, Green told GenomeWeb that the NISC, which was one of 10 centers involved in the publicly-funded Mouse Genome Sequencing Network, would look at four key regions totaling 10 megabases in the human genome and sequence comparable regions in the other vertebrates for which BAC libraries are available: mouse, rat, chimp, baboon, dog, cat, cow, pig, chicken, zebrafish, and the puffer fish being studied by the DOE's Joint Genome Institute.

The effort is expected to take about a year and cost about $6 million, Green said.

He noted that the point of the comparison is not only to determine the order in which to sequence organisms, but also to what level. For some organisms, a finished sequence may be warranted, while for others research needs may be well served by a working draft of key sequences. Additional organisms may be added to the list of genomes under consideration.

"There will probably be a lot of pressure to sequence the Rhesus macaque , because of its use in vaccine development," he said.

NISC will also be one of five centers that will sequence all human and mouse cDNAs. The other centers are at the Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford, the Institute for Systems Biology, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Green said.

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