The National Human Genomic Research Institute (NHGRI) recently awarded grants totaling $163 million in fiscal year 2004 to five US research centers for large-scale genome sequencing projects. Over the next 3 years, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, The Institute for Genome Research (TIGR), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's new Broad Institute, and Agencourt Biosciences will sequence the genomes of several target organisms totaling 54 billion base pairs.

Jane Peterson, head of the extramural research division and program director of NHGRI's large-scale sequencing research network, said that the sequencing work “is the most important thing we can be doing right now. There are lots of sequences not in genes that are highly conserved, and this work will help us find regions of commonality and compare genomes.” Sequencing other organisms will “teach us how to read the [human] genome,” she said.

NHGRI used a new...

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