News Releases

Ottawa, May 5, 2004


International collaboration to identify the complete set of factors that regulate gene expression from the Human Genome launched in Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Director of the Stem Cell Centre and Senior Scientist at the OHRI, today announced the formation of an international consortium uniting leading world scientists to elaborate the regulatory factors that control gene expression from the Human Genome.

It is firmly held that the outcome of such a venture could lead to vast improvements in the fight against debilitating diseases.

"By working together, we can systematically and efficiently conduct this third generation genomics project to completely map the regulatory networks that control gene expression - the Regulome" Dr. Rudnicki told a group of reporters today. "Thanks to this collaboration, we will eventually possess the complete circuit board of the genetic processes that regulate the formation and function of the over 200 cell types that make up the human body." Dr. Rudnicki, who is also Professor at the University of Ottawa, directed the Ottawa conference.

The announcement capped a three-day conference which featured presentations from leading scientists and researchers in Canada, the U.K., France, Singapore, Italy, and the US. The conclusions of those discussions led to the development of a white paper, describing the objectives and purpose of the group to be known as the International Regulome Consortium.

In 1990, the international Human Genome Project was launched - 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 a more complete sequence published 2003. 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 International Regulome Consortium proposes a third generation genome project that will delineate how genes are switched on and off to regulate the amount of protein made 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.
"I am truly impressed by this approach, which unites leading scientists for the greater good," said Dr. Ronald Worton, CEO of the OHRI. "I take great pride in the fact that the OHRI is spearheading this effort." The OHRI is a partner of The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa Medical Faculty.

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

For more information please contact:

Nathalie Trépanier
Communications Manager
613-798-5555 ext. 19691

<- Related stories ->

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
April 20, 2004 - Canada in talks to lead international consortium of researchers to conduct third generation Genome Project

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