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April 15, 2003 | National Human Genome Research Institute Director Francis Collins is metaphorically using a three-floor house to describe initiatives for the future of genomics. Input from 600 scientists was used to create this long-term agenda for the NHGRI.

First floor: Genomics to Biology

  • Define the structure of genetic variations with tools like the HapMap.
  • Decode many additional genomes.
  • Reduce the cost of decoding an individual genome from $30 million today to $1,000.
  • Identify the functional elements of the human genome.
  • Identify all proteins of the cell and their interactions.
  • Build a computational model of a human cell and extend it to many different types of human cells.

 Second floor: Genomics to Health

  • Identify genetic and environmental risk factors for common diseases.
  • Build “sentinel” systems to detect diseases before they become advanced.
  • Get academic researchers to embrace modern drug discovery techniques to create   promising compounds.
  • Gather and study genotypes from a 500,000-person segment of the U.S. population for 7 to 10 years (similar to what Iceland and Estonia are doing).
  • Figure out modern-day health disparities such as why some groups are afflicted with specific diseases more than others.
  • Use genomics outside our borders to combat malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases.

 Third floor: Genomics to Society

  • Enhance genetic privacy and protection via legislation.
  • Understand genomics with respect to race and ethnicity. Be wary of demagogues who would exploit genomics for political purposes.
  • Understand genomics’ impact on human characteristics such as intelligence and sexual orientation.
  • Define areas that should not be exploited, such as designing characteristics of future generations.

Source: Francis Collins


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