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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

August 3, 2001

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—June 14, 2001


Dr. Kirschstein opened the meeting by asking that e-mails which the IC Directors receive regarding mifepristone be forwarded to the Exec Sec1 mailbox.

I. Update on Sequencing the Mouse Genome (slides attached)

Dr. Collins reported that by the end of March 2001, the six-month whole genome shot gun (WGS) approach effort to develop 3X coverage of the DNA of the black 6 mouse strain had resulted in data representing 95 percent of the full DNA complement. Stating that the approach had worked well, he observed that the 58-million-dollar project could not have succeeded without the cooperation of all members of the public-private Mouse Sequencing Consortium which supported the sequencing work at the Whitehead Institute, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and the Sanger Centre. This information is available for non-restricted use through the National Center for Biotechnology Information and several other Web sites.

Dr. Klausner then discussed what these new mouse data actually mean to the scientific community and how they might be used. He stressed that it is important to clarify the value of the data from this accelerated effort versus their limitations as well as what we ultimately hope to achieve from the project. Dr. Klausner stressed that such an evaluation of the utility of the different levels of coverage is critical to decisions on how best to use available funds. Using the MET oncogene as an example, he concluded that while the 3X approach is useful in providing pointers to exons, a 10X approach will be critical to actually finding out more about the exons and the regulatory features. He also noted that the 3X approach provides limited information in non-exonic sequences so a 10X approach is essential.

During the discussion that followed regarding the slide comparing the 3X WGS draft and the 10X BAC-Based full shot gun approach, Dr. Collins mentioned the Web address of the Human Genome Project Working Draft at UCSC: http://genome.ucsc.edu.

Dr. Collins argued that while using the draft 3X mouse sequence is challenging, a researcher can find much that is usable, especially in exon annotation and homolog identification. He concluded that this is good information, but we should not stop here.

Attendees then focused on three possible models for a trans-NIH funding effort for a 10X full shot gun sequencing as opposed to three approaches involving only NHGRI funds. An additional $30 million in FYs 02 and 03 ($15 million each year) would speed up the current NHGRI time line for a 10X sequence by more than a year. Noting that, in the bigger picture, $30 million is certainly reasonable, Dr. Kirschstein concluded by saying that thus far the effort has been voluntary and she wants it to continue that way.

II. Information Items

Dr. Kirschstein noted the following:

  • Soon she is sending the FY 03 budget proposal, which includes large increases, to the Office of the Secretary. Because we are all urging a smoothing and flattening in FY 04, it is critical that we justify this increase adequately. She asked the Directors to furnish grant-related data to help prepare this justification.
  • She needs to be informed of any unexpected events, whether good or bad, as soon as possible so that she can alert the Secretary before he finds out about them through the media or otherwise. She cited how she was able to inform the Secretary about the death of a volunteer research participant in an NIH-funded study at Johns Hopkins and how much he appreciated learning of this very sad event from us directly.
  • She wants ideas for the August visit of the Secretary that will provide opportunities to see laboratory as well as clinical and information technology activities. She stressed that this is an excellent opportunity to show the Secretary how science is conducted.
  • The agenda for the June 25 Budget Retreat will include FARB recommendations for Fys 02 and 03; scientific discussions by Drs. Klausner, Collins, and Hodes; and a discussion of the disease-reporting issue led by Drs. Maddox and Baldwin.

Dale Johnson
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on September 28, 2011

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