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Human Genome News, April-June 1996; 7(6)

Research Pace Applauded at Santa Fe '96 Workshop

Genome Remains Priority for DOE Energy Research, says Krebs

Martha Krebs, Director of the DOE Office of Energy Research (ER), welcomed participants to the fifth DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop on January 28 -- February 1, 1996. Krebs' assessment of the strengths and future directions of the program was well received by almost 400 researchers, program managers, and invited guests who met in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

More than 50 speakers (and posters representing about 200 projects) reported on progress in mapping; resource development; sequencing; informatics; and ethical, legal, and social issues. The research was carried out at DOE human genome centers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and at about 90 U.S. universities and research organizations.

Krebs applauded the remarkable pace of the program and praised retiring Program Director Dave Smith for his guiding philosophy of "supporting the best science to make the fastest progress."

Commenting on the future of the program, Krebs said "it is an increasing priority for ER and will remain so in the coming months and years because it addresses DOE missions. The program now needs to evolve rapidly to capitalize on opportunities that technological advances are creating, especially with high-throughput sequencing." Krebs stated that for the remainder of the genome project, sequencing efforts will be of primary importance. "We must begin to direct a significant fraction of the project budget into the focused effort necessary for production of large amounts of sequence data," she said.

Krebs conveyed her concern about the long-term funding outlook for science in the perilous budgetary climate now pervading Washington. Her closing message was an urgent one: All researchers must speak out on behalf of science investment by discussing its present and future impact on the American people and on U.S. leadership in all fields of science and technology in the 21st century. "We need to make sure that people understand what they will lose if they don't support this kind of effort," she said.

Krebs suggested contacting representatives from the local to national levels, writing letters and pieces for newspaper editorial pages, enlisting the aid of university presidents and deans, and involving professional societies in this crucial task.

by Denise Casey, HGMIS

Santa Fe Abstracts are available in several formats. For information about the next Contractor-Grantee Workshop scheduled for November, 1997, contact Sylvia Spengler at LBNL, 510-486-4879, sylviaj@violet.berkeley.edu.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v7n6).

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.