JAX receives $6.7 million federal research grant to create 3-D genome map

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has awarded a grant totaling $6,727,904 over four years to The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) to launch a center for the three-dimensional (3-D) mapping of the human and mouse genomes.

The funding is part of a major initiative to expand the NHGRI’s Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project, a fundamental genomics resource used by many scientists to study human health and disease.

ENCODE was launched in 2003, shortly after the sequencing of the human genome. The initial goal of ENCODE was to annotate every single nucleotide in the human genome, but linear annotation is not enough to understand how the genome is organized and how it functions. The new ENCODE mapping center will focus on uncovering the mystery of the 3-D organization and function of the human and mouse genome.

The advanced genome technology known as ChIA-PET (for chromatin interaction analysis by paired-end tag) sequencing, will allow scientists to understand the 3-D structure of the genome and how that structure affects gene expression. ChIA-PET has revealed novel 3-D genomic insights into how predispositions in genome variation may lead to human disease.