RELEASE DATE:  October 9, 2002

NOTICE:  NOT-HG-03-001

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Purpose:  The NHGRI is considering establishing a research consortium 
for a pilot project to develop and evaluate methods for identifying 
functional elements in the human genome.  In order to plan this 
project, the NHGRI is requesting information from researchers about 
currently available methods to achieve this goal.

Background:  In April 2003, the sequence of the human genome will be 
essentially complete.  Although this is a significant achievement, much 
remains to be done.  Before the best use of the information contained 
in the sequence can be made, the identity and precise location of all 
of the protein-encoding and non-protein-encoding genes will have to be 
determined.  The identity of other functional elements encoded in the 
DNA sequence, such as promoters and other transcriptional regulatory 
sequences, along with determinants of chromosome structure and 
function, such as origins of replication, also remain largely unknown.  
A comprehensive encyclopedia of all of these features is needed to 
fully utilize the sequence to better understand human biology, to 
predict potential disease risks, and to stimulate the development of 
new therapies to prevent and treat these diseases.   

To encourage discussion and comparison of existing computational and 
experimental approaches and to stimulate the development of new ones, 
the NHGRI proposes to create a highly interactive public research 
consortium to carry out a pilot project for testing and comparing 
existing and new methods to identify functional sequences in DNA 
(http://www.genome.gov/pages/research/ENCODE).  Working together in a highly 
cooperative effort to rigorously analyze a defined portion of the human 
genome sequence, investigators with diverse backgrounds and expertise 
will be able to evaluate the relative merits of each of a diverse set 
of techniques, technologies, and strategies in identifying all the 
functional elements in human genomic sequence, to identify gaps in our 
ability to annotate genomic sequence, and to consider the abilities of 
such methods to be scaled up for an effort to analyze the entire human 

Information Requested:  To better plan this project, the NHGRI needs 
more information about the types and uses of available technologies for 
identifying functional elements in DNA on a large scale.  This Request 
for Information is an attempt to solicit information from the 
scientific community about what studies are currently being conducted 
to identify and verify, on a large scale, functional elements in the 
human genome and what technologies are being developed aimed at 
establishing the capability to do these types of analyses.  Information 
in the following areas will aid in the design of scope of this pilot 

1) What experiments, wet bench and/or computational, are your 
laboratory conducting related to large-scale identification of 
functional elements in the human sequence?   

2) At what scale is this work currently being done?

3) Is the technology being used sufficiently developed for the 
efficient application to 1% of the genome at this time?

This Request for Information is for information and planning purposes 
only and shall not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation 
on the part of the NHGRI.  The NHGRI does not intend to award a grant 
or contract on the basis of responses nor otherwise pay for the 
preparation of any information submitted or the Government's use of 
such information.  Acknowledgment of receipt of responses will not be 
made, nor will respondents be notified of the Institute's evaluation of 
the information received. Responses will be held in a confidential 
manner.  Any proprietary information should be so marked after each 

Comments should be submitted via email to encode@mail.nih.gov by 
Friday, November 8th, 2002.

Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Elise Feingold, Ph.D.
National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 31, Room B2B07
Bethesda, MD  20892-2033
Telephone:  (301) 496-7531
FAX:  (301) 480-2770

Peter Good, Ph.D.
National Human Genome Research Institute 
Building 31, Room B2B07
Bethesda, MD 20892-2033
Telephone: (301) 435-5796
FAX: (301) 480-2770

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