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NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NHGRI/      

National Human Genome Research Institute: Mission


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) was established in 1989 originally as the National Center for Human Genome Research. One chief mission is to lead NIH’s contribution in the Human Genome Project--a worldwide effort to determine the location of the estimated 100,000 human genes and to read the entire set of genetic instructions encoded in human DNA. NHGRI carries out this task by providing financial support to investigators at university and other research laboratories throughout the country.

In 1993 NHGRI created an in-house component to carry out a second part of its mission: to develop and use genome technologies to understand and treat inherited disease.

Recognizing its growth and leadership in genetics research, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services elevated the center to an NIH institute in early 1997.

NHGRI is organized into three main divisions: the Office of the Director, which provides guidance to scientific programs and oversees the general operation of the institute; the Division of Extramural Research, which awards funds to researchers carrying out the goals of the Human Genome Project; and the Division of Intramural Research, which is home to the institute’s in-house genetics research laboratories.

Research direction and policies and final approval of NHGRI grants come from the 15-member National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research, which meets three times a year, usually in Bethesda. Members include representatives from health and science disciplines, public health, social sciences, and the general public. Portions of Council meetings are open to the public.


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