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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, Mar.-Apr. 1995; 6(6)

IMAGE Characterizes cDNA Clones

The Integrated Molecular Analysis of Gene Expression (IMAGE) Consortium is an international group of laboratories collaborating to characterize clones from shared arrayed cDNA libraries, integrate all data, and make clones and data publicly available. Information and resources generated by the consortium are expected to facilitate gene mapping and sequencing as well as gene-expression studies. (see Positional Cloning Approach Expedites Gene Hunts]

Organized in 1993 by Gregory Lennon [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)], Charles Auffray (Genethon), Bento Soares (Columbia University), and Mihael Polymeropolous (NIH National Institute of Mental Health), the consortium is now working with over 100,000 arrayed clones from 18 different libraries. LLNL is arraying these libraries for replication and distribution worldwide. Each clone in the shared libraries is given a simple, unique identifier (IMAGE Clone ID) that enables integration of sequence, map, and expression data generated around the world by laboratories of various sizes, expertise, and interests.

IMAGE collaborators deposit their data into public databases. Over 70,000 sequences, at least 28,000 of which are nonoverlapping, are already in dbEST. Most work has focused on the normalized infant brain cDNA library from Soares. The Soares library array consists of more than 40,000 clones; more than 20,000 single-pass sequences have been generated, and over 4000 cDNAs have been mapped to chromosomes. Data from 106,394 clones have been loaded into the Genome Data Base (GDB), with more expected over the next few months. All clones in the IMAGE Consortium arrays have preassigned GDB accession numbers, so the mapping data submitted to GDB is highly amenable to cross-database coordination and integration.

Toward the Master Array

Lennon, Polymeropolous, Soares, and several other mapping and sequencing teams participated in a 1991 DOE initiative to enrich the developing physical maps with gene loci and open broad access to resulting data and resources. DOE continues to support Soares' production of cDNA libraries for other tissues, with derivative normalization and subtraction from previously characterized clones. With NCHGR support, Soares is further developing technology for generating full-length cDNA libraries. As incremental improvements are made, they will be incorporated into the continuing production of the tissue-specific libraries.

Under IMAGE auspices, the normalized Soares brain libraries are the centerpiece of the cDNA sequencing effort supported by Merck & Co. at Washington University. In February Merck announced the availability of 15,000 expressed human gene sequences; 200,000 to 300,000 are expected within the next 18 months. Rates of over 5000 sequences per week are being achieved, providing a "tremendous boost toward identifying at least one cDNA clone per human gene," Lennon said.

Later this year, the IMAGE Consortium expects to make available a "master array"-a nonredundant set of cDNA clones representing the genes identified-from each human gene transcript. "Having the genes in hand is going to allow us to put together a gene map faster than anyone thought possible," said Lennon.

Participation Welcome

The IMAGE Consortium is currently arraying other high-quality cDNA libraries and invites the participation of any laboratory willing to abide by consortium guidelines. Participants agree to place all sequence, map, and expression data arising from the use of IMAGE clones into free public databases. This data must be associated with the clone's unique identifiers. IMAGE clones are currently distributed freely and will soon be available from commercial distributors for a nominal fee.

For more information on IMAGE, send a message to or access the WWW site (url no longer available).

Anne Adamson, HGMIS

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v6n6).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

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.

Human Genome News

Published from 1989 until 2002, this newsletter facilitated HGP communication, helped prevent duplication of research effort, and informed persons interested in genome research.