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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, May 1990; 2(1)

JITF To Coordinate Development, Access To Genome Information and Analysis Tools

Joint Informatics Task Force Chaired by Dieter Soll
Human genome advisory committees from NIH and DOE, responding to the magnitude and complexity of mapping and sequencing data to be generated by the Human Genome Project, have established the Joint Informatics Task Force (JITF) to develop genome information and analysis tools and make them available to scientists and physicians.

This group, chaired by Dieter Soll of Yale University (see below for list of members), is responsible for identifying user needs, setting informatics goals, establishing research and development priorities, and enhancing the effectiveness of computational solutions to genome informatics problems. In addition, JITF will make recommendations to the Joint NIH-DOE Subcommittee on the Human Genome in both technical and policy areas relating to:

  • genome database structures, management, and services;
  • informatics tool development--algorithms, software, and hardware for organization and analysis of data;
  • standards for data exchange;
  • electronic networks for collection and distribution of genome data;
  • training and education of informatics personnel; and
  • coordination of genome informatics activities among laboratories, agencies, and nations.

In addition to NIH and DOE, other agencies with responsibilities and activities in the area of genome informatics--the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the privately funded Howard Hughes Medical Institute--send representatives to the JITF meetings as liaison members. As necessary, JITF will convene ad hoc advisory panels to address specific technical and policy issues. JITF will also interact with international informatics groups in organizations such as the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO).

While most of the initial near-term efforts of JITF will focus on the development of mapping and sequencing software tools and the rapid and convenient dissemination of genetic map and DNA sequence data, the longer-term goals are more ambitious. These goals include the following:

  • establishing standards to allow simple connectivity among the many databases currently being developed in individual laboratories;
  • coordinating data collection, software tool development, and networking within the human genome research community; and
  • promoting more creative interactions among computer scientists, mathematicians, and biologists through courses, meetings, and workshops.

As it begins its activities, JITF will consider development in the following areas:

  • bulletin board systems like BioNet to enhance electronic communications within the genome community;
  • interaction among individuals in research institutions, medical practice, and the private sector;
  • database access and data quality assessment; and
  • cooperation and coordination with the informatics communities of other countries.

The intent of JITF is to promote an ongoing dialogue with all persons interested in genome informatics. Comments or suggestions for improving the effectiveness of genome informatics should be directed to any of the JITF members. The first meeting of the JITF was held March 8-9 in Washington, D.C.

Joint Informatics Task Force


  • Dieter Soll, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University
    E-Mail: soll@yalemed.bitnet

Technical Coordinator

  • Gregory Hamm, Molecular Biology Computing Laboratory, Waksman Institute, Rutgers University

Task Force Members

  • George I. Bell, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • David Botstein, Genentech, Inc.
  • Elbert Branscomb, Biomedical Science Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • John Devereux, Genetics Computer Group
  • Nathan Goodman, Brookline, MA 02146
    E-Mail: ngoodman@mitwibr.bitnet
  • Eric Lander, Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Thomas G. Marr, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
    E-Mail: marr@cshlab.bitnet
  • Frank Olken, Human Genome Center, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • Ross Overbeek, Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Mark L. Pearson, Central Research & Development, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
  • Sylvia J. Spengler, Human Genome Center, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
  • Mike Waterman, Department of Mathematics, University of Southern California

Submitted by Mark L. Pearson
Central Research & Development Department
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v2n1).

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.