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Post-genome project launches

NIH begins pilot program to create encyclopedia of functional elements.

Leslie Pray(lpray@nasw.org)

At a March 7 meeting, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) will formally launch a consortium project to develop methods for identifying and locating functional elements of the human genome. Called the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), the pilot project will involve $12 million in initial funds.

"This is where the information really is," said ENCODE program director Peter Good. "This is where you are going to learn how things work and how things cause disease."

Consortium members will develop and compare high-throughput techniques using a defined set of target sequences comprising about one percent of the human genome. The project's goal is to come up with a combination of effective, inexpensive methodologies which will then be used on the remaining 99% of the genome.

NHGRI recently released two Requests for Applications (RFA). Program director Elise Feingold expects that five–to–15 research groups will be funded initially,...

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