Whither NHGRI?

Although the human genome is done, the genome institute still has plenty to do.

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
Apr 15, 2003

Having accomplished what it was created for, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is not about to declare victory and quietly disband. Its To Do list, published in the April 17 Nature, should keep it in business for decades.

NHGRI's central achievement, of course, has been coordinating the massive international project to map and sequence the human genome. The project is not completely finished, and perhaps it can't be. But, with a sequence declared on Monday to be 99% accurate, it's close enough for government work — especially government work that came in ahead of schedule (2003, not 2005) and under budget (the US spent $2.7 billion, not a projected $3 billion), as NHGRI director Francis Collins is fond of pointing out.

"It's certainly one of the most successful initiatives that the National Institutes of Health has begun in the last decade. That's true from any objective criterion:...

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