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GSAC XIII Looks Beyond Sequencing to Analysis and Interpretation of Data

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As the first Genomics Sequencing and Analysis Conference to follow the publication of the human genome sequencing papers in February, GSAC XIII provided a distinct post-genomic flavor.

Held in San Diego October 25-28, the annual conference sponsored by the Institute for Genomic Research addressed a range of methods for the analysis and interpretation of sequence data — from microarray analysis to comparative genomics to proteomics.

In her opening remarks, TIGR president Claire Fraser noted that GSAC used to be “a lot of wishful thinking about what we would do once we had a genome sequenced.” The meeting’s events proved that the field’s practitioners are far beyond wishing and are fully immersed in the task of making sense of the genomic data at hand.

Highlights in the plenary sessions included Gene Myers’ update on Celera’s mouse assembly and David Haussler’s update on the assembly of the public human genome working draft.

Myers, vice president of informatics research at Celera, compared the assembly of large genomes to finding the corner pieces of a 5 billion-piece jigsaw puzzle. Myers said he’s confident the Celera whole genome assembly provides a solid basis for finishing the genome.

Haussler, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said that the public finishing effort has “tremendously accelerated,” and is on track to finish in 2003.

Daniel Shoemaker and Stephen Friend of Rosetta Inpharmatics separately described alternative methods for applying microarray technology to gain knowledge about cellular activities.

The last day’s sessions were devoted entirely to proteomics.

Fraser said that 2,200 people had registered for the meeting, down from over 3,000 last year. Many noted that attendance was higher than expected in light of reduced travel due to the events of September 11.

— BT

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