Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, July 1991; 3(2)
The first meeting of the NIH-DOE Joint Working Group on the Mouse was held in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 6. Attendees were welcomed by Elke Jordan, Deputy Director, NIH National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR) and David Galas, Associate Director, DOE Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER). Jordan indicated that the task of the working group is to help NIH and DOE determine the role of the mouse in the Human Genome Project and to develop a strategy for efficiently using the mouse to accomplish project goals [HGN 3(1) 10 (May 1991)] as outlined in the 5-year plan.
The meeting opened with a discussion of the value of model organisms in the genome project. Several features make the mouse an important model organism:
Strategies for completing the mouse genetic and physical maps are still evolving, but much progress has been made on the maps of simpler organisms. Physical maps of the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans are complete or nearly so, and sequencing of their genomes has begun. In addition, significant progress has been made in constructing a physical map of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
DOE and NIH agency representatives summarized research being conducted under the Human Genome Project.
Benjamin Barnhart, Manager, OHER Human Genome Program, stated that DOE has had a longstanding interest in studying model organisms through its Radiation Biology and Chemical Toxicology programs. Most recently, program emphasis has been on mechanistic studies (i.e., mechanisms of radiation and energy-related chemical damage causation). Currently, DOE annual support for the mouse is around $8 million; however, these projects, which include the large resources of mouse mutants at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and studies on mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, development, and reproduction, are not within the scope of the Human Genome Project.
Galas said that although NIH has more responsibility to support model organisms, DOE is exploring new ideas and examining how its national laboratories can respond to the overall effort. He indicated that DOE intends to maintain some flexibility in supporting such projects. Discussion followed about ways to make national laboratory resources available to the general mouse scientific community.
Bettie Graham (NCHGR) reported that NCHGR support for 12 mouse-related research projects totals $5.3 million in FY 1991:
To facilitate information exchange and to coordinate research findings, the mouse community has established 21 chromosome-specific committees, one for each of the 19 autosomes and the X and Y chromosomes [see HGN 3(1), 11 (May 1991)]. This varied representation was considered useful because several ideas would be allowed to flourish and, with time, a consensus could be reached on the best way to display map information. Committee reports will appear this year as a supplement to Mammalian Genome.
Verne Chapman (Roswell Park Cancer Center) summarized meetings in Princeton, New Jersey; the United Kingdom; and Annapolis, Maryland. He expressed pleasure that the mouse community has come together to agree on common research goals for the next 3 to 5 years and to cooperate with NIH and DOE in accomplishing genome project objectives. Mouse research goals:
Joseph Nadeau (Jackson Laboratory) described several mouse mapping resources under development in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including
Working group members also discussed briefly what the mouse research community needs to do to make effective and efficient contributions to the Human Genome Project. These topics will be explored more fully in future meetings:
Next Mouse Working Group Meeting: September 15,16
Topic: Mouse Genetic Map
Mouse Working Group Contact:
Reported by Bettie J. Graham
The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v3n2).
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.
Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.