Human Genome 1993 Program Report: Research Centers
Date Published: March 1994
Established by DOE to foster collaborations by teams of investigators from various disciplines, the three DOE human genome research centers [located at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)] address such major tasks as genetic and physical mapping, DNA sequencing, informatics related to mapping and sequencing, and technology development. Contracts to these centers are funded annually and peer reviewed through site visits every 2 to 3 years. In FY 1993, $30.365 million (48.8%) of the DOE OHER genome program budget was devoted to the centers, with LLNL receiving $9.713 million, LBL $8.599 million, and LANL $12.053 million.
Centers also play a key role in promoting distribution of genome research technology and resources through outside collaborations, public access to laboratory databases, and "visitor laboratories" at which visiting scientists and pre- and postdoctoral students can apply genome center expertise and technology to their own research. In addition, the centers strive to make available their resources--including biologicals, software, databases, instrumentation, and training opportunities--to the entire genome research community.
All center investigators are encouraged to engage in active collaborations with the private sector and transfer their resources and technologies for commercial development. Activities include the transfer of vectors, primers, and software to industry and the further development of instrumentation with industrial partners. Short descriptions and recent accomplishments of each center follow.
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Established in 1988, the LBL Human Genome Center is developing research and analytical technology to speed genome mapping and sequencing and decrease costs. Research at the LBL center focuses on mapping and sequencing chromosome 21, which is the smallest human chromosome and contains an estimated 900 genes. Identified chromosome 21 genes include those implicated in Down's syndrome and familial Alzheimer's disease. A major goal of the center is to use low-density maps to catalyze construction of high-density genetic and physical maps, gene maps, and sequence. Toward this goal the center is sequencing a biologically interesting 3- to 4-Mb region of chromosome 21 (including the Down's syndrome region) and creating high-density genetic maps of that chromosome. Center investigators are aided by groups specializing in robotics, instrumentation automation, and informatics development. The current focus at LBL is to develop technology to sequence 10 Mb or more per year at $0.50 per base with more than 99.9% accuracy. In 1993 Jasper Rine was the center's director, and Sylvia Spengler was the deputy director. In January 1994 Mohandas Narla became acting director of the Human Genome Center.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Human Genome Center at LLNL was established in 1990 as an outgrowth of studies on the identification and characterization of human DNA repair genes, specifically on chromosome 19. Major goals include new cloning, mapping, instrumentation, informatics, and sequencing technologies focused on the assembly, closure, and characterization of a high-resolution ordered clone map of human chromosome 19. The final high-resolution map will consist of cosmid contigs with YACs, bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), and P1 artificial chromosomes (PACs), as well as an EcoR1 restriction map for the minimal spanning set of cosmids. The physical map is being aligned with genetic maps of chromosome 19. Other goals are to isolate, map, and sequence chromosome 19 cDNAs, with emphasis on full-length clones; construct (with LANL) National Laboratory Gene Library Project (NLGLP) chromosome-specific lambda and cosmid libraries for distribution; and develop new cloning, mapping, and sequencing technologies. Anthony V. Carrano is the center's director.
Contacts: Linda Ashworth, Assistant to Center Director (510/422-5665, ashworth1@ llnl.gov) or Anthony Carrano, Director (510/422-5698, Fax: /423-3110, firstname.lastname@example.org); Human Genome Center; LLNL; Biology and Biotechnology Research Program; 7000 East Avenue, L-452; P.O. Box 808; Livermore, CA 94551.
Graduate and postdoctoral research training is available through the Institute of Genetics and Genomics at LLNL (Harvey Mohrenweiser, 510/423-0534).
Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Center for Human Genome Studies at LANL was established in 1988. The LANL center's goals include assembly of complete high-resolution (0.1 Mb) maps of chromosome 16 and regions of chromosome 5, studies at the molecular level of chromosome structure and function, and isolation of selected genes of interest on chromosomes 5 and 16. Other goals are (1) short-term computational development and support for large-scale physical mapping and sequencing projects and long-term development of tools for storage, manipulation, and analysis of genome data; (2) development and application of new methods for physical mapping; (3) use of robotics in handling and storing DNA fragments; (4) construction of DNA libraries from flow-sorted chromosomes; (5) rapid, inexpensive, large-scale sequencing; and (6) studies of ethical, legal, and social issues arising from the increased availability and use of genome data. Technology transfer activities are progressing and include robotic instrumentation development, software licensing, library distribution, and rapid sequencing technology. Robert K. Moyzis is the center's director and Larry L. Deaven is the deputy director.
Contact: Lynn Clark, Technical Coordinator (505/667-9376, Fax: -2891; moyzis@ flovax.lanl.gov); Center for Human Genome Studies; LANL; Life Sciences Division, MS M886; Los Alamos, NM 87545.