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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, September 1990; 2(3)

Latin American Symposium on Molecular Genetics and the Human Genome Project

The Latin American Symposium on Molecular Genetics and the Human Genome Project was held June 28-30 at the University of Chile, Santiago. Meeting organizer Jorge Allende developed the symposium to be as inclusive as possible; many countries not traditionally having strong research programs, such as Honduras and Bolivia, sent delegates. Representatives from Latin American countries described their human genome research and began preparation of a consensus document outlining their approach to the Human Genome Project.

Edwin W. Southern (University of Oxford, U.K.) described the European Community's human genome analysis program and the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO). Discussion showed that many Latin American scientists are reaching out to other countries, such as France and Germany, for assistance in research and training; international cooperation and exchange of information can be fostered by HUGO and by U.S. agencies sponsoring the Human Genome Project. Southern asked participants to suggest ways HUGO could be useful to them.

Information on the U.S. Human Genome Project, presented by Bettie Graham (National Center for Human Genome Research), was well received. She indicated that workshops, communication through bitnet/internet, and the DOE- and NIH-sponsored Human Genome News provide excellent avenues for exchange of information between Latin American scientists and Human Genome Project participants. A few countries, such as Chile and Brazil, have access to bitnet/internet through the cooperation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Conference attendees expressed hope that access could be extended to all interested Latin American countries.

Cassandra Smith [Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL)] described LBL efforts to construct a physical map of human chromosome 21. Southern discussed his work on the human Y chromosome and the isolation of telomeres to produce a cloning vector.

Detailed presentations, given principally by Latin American scientists, centered on population genetics.

Sergio D. J. Pena (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil) presented data on a minisatellite DNA. He isolated a probe from the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, which has many of the consensus sequences present in Jeffreys' human VNTR (i.e., variable number of tandem repeats) core motif; this probe is a very effective tool in investigative work involving paternity testing and criminal analysis. Pena's work was motivated by his inability to obtain the probe from researchers in other countries and by patent constraints.

Maximo E. Drets (Instituto de Investigaciones Biologicas Clemente Estable, Uruguay) discussed a new karyotyping method using computer graphics, a technique developed in collaboration with German scientists and so sensitive that even minor differences between chromatids can be seen. The approach enhances the quantitative cytogenetic analysis of banding patterns and promises to be useful in studying chromosomal breakage and organization as well as in clinical cytological tests.

U.S. Legislation Calls for Inter-American Cooperation

Concern about the need to reinvigorate cooperation between the United States and Latin America in science and technology was expressed on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 12 when the House passed H.R. 2152. The bill calls for the National Science Foundation to establish an Inter-American Scientific Cooperation Program to foster innovative projects, scientist exchange, joint research, fellowships, course development, computer assistance, and other activities that would encourage scientific progress in Latin America and cooperation between the United States and Latin America.

Reported by Bettie J. Graham, Chief
Research Grants Branch

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The electronic form of the newsletter may be cited in the following style:
Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v2n3).

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.