Dear Particia Rodriguez-Tomé,
At the recent Hilton Head Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference, members of the IMAGE Consortium and other interested individuals met to discuss plans to sequence full-length and full-insert cDNA clones. Participants represented groups from the European Community, Japan, and the United States that have begun projects to generate sequence data spanning complete cDNA clones. These projects will not only provide a much needed resource for the annotation of the emerging human genomic sequence, but will also be extremely valuable for the identification and functional classification of the complement of human genes.
The motivation for our meeting was to build on the success of the IMAGE Consortium in freely providing both EST sequence data and physical clones to the general biological. As we discussed our projects, one common theme that emerged was the need for coordination of efforts to avoid sequencing of multiple clones likely to represent the same human transcript. The participants agreed that an allocation database, similar to the RHalloc database that you and Kate Rice developed and maintained at the EBI, would be the most efficient way to avoid unnecessary and costly duplication of effort.
An allocation database would allow participants to announce their intentions to sequence particular human cDNA clones and should include, at a minimum, the clone IMAGE ID, the 5' and 3' dBEST Accessions, the target species, the clone length (if available), whether this project was part of a full-length or a full-insert sequencing effort, and contact information for the group conducting the sequencing. While registration of a clone in such a database would not preclude another group from sequencing that or a related clone, it would allow both large and small cDNA sequencing groups to make intelligent decisions about the clones they plan to sequence. We would expect groups that had allocated any particular clone to complete sequencing and submit the sequence data to dBEST, at which time the allocation status should change from "reserved" to "completed"; if a group failed to sequence any reserved clone in a timely manner, such as six months after registration, its status should change to "expired" to allow other interested parties to allocate and sequence it.
We realize that building and maintaining such a database is not a trivial task, but without it, valuable funds and resources are likely to be lost to duplicated effort. We hope that you will be able to establish such a database at the EBI and we would be strongly support your efforts to secure funding to both build and maintain it..
John Quackenbush, Ph.D.
The Institute for Genomic Research
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