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The ENCODE project delves into the human genome, looking beyond genes to elucidate other elements related to biological function

Friday, January 9, 2004

David Haussler's Genome Bioinformatics Group at UCSC has joined the ENCODE project (for ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements), sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The ENCODE project is a scientific reconnaissance mission aimed at discovering all parts of the human genome that are crucial to biological function.

Scientists have focused on finding the genes, or protein-coding regions, in DNA sequences, but these account for only about 1.5% of the genetic material of humans and other mammals. While compelling evidence exists that other parts of the genome must have important functions, at present we have only very limited information about how these other parts work. The ENCODE project will build a comprehensive 'parts list' of the human genome by identifying and precisely locating all functional elements in our DNA sequence.

This project will involve an international consortium of scientists from government, industry, and academia. The UCSC group will build the database and web interface for all sequence-related data for the ENCODE project. This includes mapping experimental data to specific human sequence coordinates, integrating the data into the full human genome browser on specialized tracks, and providing more in-depth information on detail pages.

UCSC will also develop, perform, and present computational and comparative analyses to glean further genomic and functional information from the collective data.