Human Genome News, November 1991; 3(4)

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Human Genome News Archive Edition

HGM Group To Facilitate Work on Human YACs

At the Eleventh International Workshop on Human Gene Mapping (HGM 11) in London on August 18-22, a group of about 20 people, chaired by Charles Cantor, HUGO Vice-President (Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) and Anthony Monaco [Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), London], met to discuss the availability and use of human yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) libraries within the genome community.

Several libraries have been distributed to a number of laboratories or are available through the human genome resource centers associated with the U.K. and European Community genome programs. These libraries include those made originally in the laboratories of Anthony Monaco, Maynard Olson (Washington University School of Medicine), Daniel Cohen (Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain, Paris), Rakesh Anand (ICI Pharmaceuticals), and Hans Lehrach (ICRF).

Discussions revealed that practices for handling YACs in the United States and Europe are quite different. In the United States, entire libraries are often available to many individual laboratories, while distribution in Europe usually has been limited to YAC arrays on filters or to pools of YACs. Laboratories screening these filters or pools then report their results to a center to receive the individual clones corresponding to the screening probe. While the U.S. system is much less restrictive because individual laboratories are free to handle the libraries and individual clones as they wish, the European approach has the advantage of accumulating a considerable amount of useful information by combining the results of many separate screening efforts.

Discussions indicated that most YAC users were not aware of the full range of libraries available and the various constraints on their use. To consider how information about YAC libraries might be spread within the community, a small group was established under the chairmanship of Gert-Jan van Ommen (Leiden University, Netherlands). Topics to be discussed by this group over the next few months:

  • compiling a periodically updated, easily accessed inventory of YAC libraries;
  • recording (in a public database) information about YAC screening with DNA probes to minimize unnecessary duplication; and
  • developing accceptable mechanisms for exchanging characterized YACs among many screening centers to promote the worldwide integration of screening efforts.


  • Gert-Jan van Ommen
    Leiden University
    Fax: (Int.) 31/71-27-60-75

Reported by Liz Evans
HUGO, London

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