The National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research (NACHGR), which is a federally chartered committee that advises NHGRI on program priorities and goals, recently approved a comprehensive plan that adds two new sets of sequencing targets. The strategy includes a mix of whole genome sequencing, genome mapping and sequencing of genomic regions chosen for their scientific merits.
“We want to set the stage for a greater understanding of the major biological innovations that have occurred throughout evolution, with emphasis on learning more about our own genome. Genomic information from a wide array of species already is proving useful in many areas of biomedical research that may benefit both humans and animals,?said Mark S. Guyer, Ph.D., director of NHGRI’s Division of Extramural Research.
The first group of targets consists of nine mammals. Eight mammals will be sequenced at low-density draft coverage, created by sequencing their genomes two times over. This sequencing strategy, begun last year on another set of mammals, is used primarily to identify features that are similar, or conserved, among the genomes of the human and other mammals. Sequences that have been conserved throughout evolution often reveal important functional regions of the human genome. Initial data show that using low-density sequencing for such comparisons is almost as effective as more costly, high-density sequencing. The eight mammals are: 13-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilis tridecemlineatus), megabat (Cynopterus species), microbat (Microchiroptera species), tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri), bushbaby (Otolemur garnetti), hyrax (Procavia capensis), pangolin (