The dog and cow are now official. The addition of two of humanity's favorite mammals to the high-priority list for complete genome sequencing had been expected for some time, and was announced Thursday by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). But an organism's ascension to the high-priority list is only a kind of triaging, "not a permanent designation or a commitment to begin sequencing," noted Harvard's William Gelbart, who chairs NHGRI's genome selection committee. NHGRI director Francis Collins underscored Gelbart's cautionary note, saying that the priority list "is not yet a commitment to sequence the genomes of these organisms."

Organisms on the high-priority list are not ranked and the order in which they will feed into the US's large-scale sequencing capacity, or whether they will overtax it, is undetermined. Along with the first group of new genome projects decided in May, the 'to-do' list now includes nine high-priority...

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