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Canada in talks to lead international consortium of researchers to conduct third generation Genome Project

The implications of such a project could have far-reaching implications in the fight against some of the most debilitating and deadly diseases.

In 1990, the U.S. launched the Human Genome Project - a massive project that sought to identify all of the approximately 30,000 genes in human DNA. A working draft of the entire human genome sequence was announced in June 2000, with analyses published in February 2001. It was immediately hailed as one of the most important breakthroughs in science.

This discovery eventually led to a second generation of research to identify all the proteins encoded by the genes with a view to understanding their role in normal tissue and the protein alterations in disease states. The proposed initiative is a third generation genome project that will integrate all of this information. The project will define the genetic circuit board that controls the expression of genes in cells during the formation of all tissues and organs in the body. The implications of such a profound understanding would be tremendous - leading to groundbreaking advances in the fight against many complex diseases.

In an effort to expedite the process and in the spirit of international collaboration, Dr. Michael Rudnicki, one of the world's leading authorities on Genomics and Stem Cell Research, has initiated an International Regulome Consortium, with a first meeting planned in Ottawa in early May. Already, top researchers such as Dr. Allan Bradley of the Sanger Institute in Hinxton, U.K.; Dr. Bing Lim, Senior Group Leader, Genome Institute of Singapore and Dr. Irwin Davidson, of the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, Collège de France have pledged their support. Drs. Janet Rossant, of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and Jack Greenblatt, of the University of Toronto will also be key to this endeavor.

"We are very excited about the implications of such a collaboration," said Dr. Rudnicki. "The response has been tremendous."

Dr. Rudnicki, Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, has often been cited for his discoveries in stem cell and genomics research. He will be hosting the meeting and leading the discussion. It is expected that the May conference will be the first step in the collaborative process. The promise of such a consortium continues to draw increased interest from around the world, with the benefits of such a collaboration inspiring tremendous hope.

"I am particularly pleased that Dr. Rudnicki, the OHRI and the University of Ottawa are taking the lead on this international effort. It will be a huge undertaking, and will position Canada well for the future," noted Dr. Ronald Worton, CEO of the OHRI.

"We have great expectations from this international collaboration," said Dr. Peter Walker, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. "I look forward to the development of an exciting, innovative and productive environment as a result of this initiative."

The first conference will be held from May 3rd to 5th at the Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent Street in Ottawa.

The conference is being funded by Genome Canada, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Canadian Insitutes of Health Research, the Ontario Genomics Institute and the Ottawa Life Sciences Council.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Nathalie Trépanier
Communications Manager
613-798-5555 ext. 19691

<- Related stories ->

May 5, 2004 - International collaboration to identify the complete set of factors that regulate gene expression from the Human Genome launched in Ottawa, Canada
May 4, 2004 - Groundbreaking International Scientific Collaboration to be announced at Ottawa Press Conference on May 5th
April 21, 2004 - OHRI in talks to spearhead International Regulome Consortium

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