02 Oct 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: The ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements, the ENCODE project which is a comprehensive catalog of functional elements that control the expression of genetic information in a cell, received a boost with grants worth $30.3 million. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health in the US, said grants totaling $30.3 million in fiscal year 2012 have been announced.
The ENCODE project's goal is to provide the scientific community with information they need to better understand the role that the genome plays in health and disease.
"These grants build on the momentum of recently released ENCODE findings in which researchers provided a highly detailed and global view of the human genome," said Dr Elise A Feingold, program director for ENCODE in NHGRI's Division of Extramural Research. "We have already made tremendous progress, but much work remains to complete the catalog of functional elements. These grants, awarded over a four-year period, will allow us to build on those results and take the next significant steps in deepening our understanding of the entire human genome."
The new grants will advance ENCODE by expanding its investigation of functional elements to a considerably larger number of human cells and tissues, and a deeper set of data types. Analysis of the mouse genome, which had been a relatively small component of ENCODE, will also be expanded. The goal is to enhance use of this model organism in studying a wide range of tissues not readily accessible in the human, and to tap into the power of comparative genomic analysis to increase understanding of function of the human genome.
The NHGRI will also establish a data coordinating center and a data analysis center, which together will make the ENCODE data more useful to the scientific community. New efforts will be supported to develop novel computational methods to improve analysis of ENCODE data and to make the data more useful for the study of human biology and disease.
All of the data generated by the ENCODE project will be deposited into public databases as soon as they are experimentally verified. Free and rapid access to these data will enable researchers around the world to pose new questions and gain new insights into how the human genome functions.