Press Release

TIGR to Participate in Sequencing the Rat Genome

February 28, 2001

ROCKVILLE, MD -The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a not-for-profit research organization, announced it is part of a new collaboration to sequence the genome of the laboratory rat. The project is established and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Divisions of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NHLBI and NHGRI awarded two new grants to the Baylor College of Medicine and Celera Genomics Group of Applera Corporation to accelerate ongoing efforts to decode the rat genome. TIGR along with Genome Therapeutics Corporation (Waltham, MA) and the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre also have received funding from NIH to participate in the project. NIH anticipates that the expanded project will produce a draft sequence of the rat genome within two years.

Widely used as a disease model in research programs designed to understand, treat and prevent many human diseases, the rat has been an important physiological model for study for many years. In addition, the rat genome is similar in size to the human genome, which makes it particularly useful in helping to accelerate the development of new diagnostic, prevention and treatment approaches for human medicine when combined with the current and proposed genomic resources in mouse and human.

Under the direction of Shaying Zhao, Ph.D. and William Nierman, Ph.D., TIGR will conduct BAC end sequencing for the rat genome. End sequences from BAC clones provide highly specific markers across the genome and are essential to any of the strategies chosen to sequence the rat genome. TIGR has been conducting large-scale BAC end sequencing since 1997 and is one of two centers that conducted large-scale human BAC end sequencing. TIGR is the only center performing large-scale mouse BAC end sequencing. To date, TIGR has generated >300,000 high quality end sequences from >186,000 human BACs and is sequencing two ends from 170,000 RPCI-23 mouse BACs and 130,000 RPCI-24 mouse BACs. With a success rate of above 80%, TIGR has generated above 345,254 end sequences from 197,165 mouse clones with 467 bp average reads, 400 bp Q20 length and 75% pair rate. The sequencing is conducted on the ABI 3700 sequencers, which increases TIGR's clone tracking accuracy to above 95%.

"This collaborative effort brings together varied organizations to work on a genome with great potential for understanding mammalian biology and human disease and one that will serve as an important resource for comparative genomics studies" said Claire M. Fraser, Ph.D., president and director of TIGR. "We are excited to again be part of a significant research program that will allow us to contribute important information beneficial to the wider research community and ultimately to all mankind."