MARYLAND — The US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has just released its first list of high-priority genomes for sequencing. It includes the genomes of the chicken (Gallus gallus), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), several fungi, the honey bee (Apis mellifera), a sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), and the ciliated protist Tetrahymena thermophila. Accorded moderate priority are the ciliate Osytrichia trifallax and the Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta).

None of these projects has a start date yet, not even an estimated one. Large-scale sequencing on these organisms can't begin until the three big federally funded sequencing centers have finished their current projects on the mouse, the rat and Homo sapiens. "There would be a lead-in of quite a few months, and right now we have our hands full," says John McPherson, of the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University School of...

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