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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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A Virtual Lab for Human Genes
23 October 1996 8:00 pm
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it is creating a ``virtual institute'' for human gene sequencing centered at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. Scientists in the new institute will be based at three locations hundreds of miles apart, but will be linked by a high-speed electronic network, shared databases, and a common agenda.
The virtual lab, according to Martha Krebs, DOE's director of energy research, will focus on creating ``the next generation of genome sequencing tools'' and will support the international effort to decipher the complete human genetic code. Specifically, the Joint Genome Institute, as it's called, aims to sequence about 40% of the human genome--roughly 1.2 billion base pairs of DNA--by the year 2005. The new structure will cut redundant work by fostering ``more efficient cooperation among DOE laboratories,'' Krebs claims.
In the past, DOE's genome research has been split among three major centers, each with an independent agenda. In addition to Livermore, DOE scientific teams have been based at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Now, all three have been brought together under the direction of chief scientist Elbert Branscomb, a Livermore staffer who specializes in bioinformatics and comparative genome analysis. DOE plans to spend about $42 million next year on genome studies.
The other deep-pocketed player in this field is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, which received a budget of more than $189 million for genome research in 1997. Francis Collins, the leader of NIH's genome center, issued a public welcome to DOE's new institute last week, urging it to adopt ``rigorous policies of rapid release of data and of quality control.''