DOE Joint Genome Institute 2008 Progress Report

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While initially a virtual institute, the driving force behind the creation of the DOE Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California in the Fall of 1999 was the Department of Energy's commitment to sequencing the human genome. With the publication in 2004 of a trio of manuscripts describing the finished 'DOE Human Chromosomes', the Institute successfully completed its human genome mission. In the time between the creation of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and completion of the Human Genome Project, sequencing and its role in biology spread to fields extending far beyond what could be imagined ... continued below

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Gilbert, David March 12, 2009.

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Description

While initially a virtual institute, the driving force behind the creation of the DOE Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California in the Fall of 1999 was the Department of Energy's commitment to sequencing the human genome. With the publication in 2004 of a trio of manuscripts describing the finished 'DOE Human Chromosomes', the Institute successfully completed its human genome mission. In the time between the creation of the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and completion of the Human Genome Project, sequencing and its role in biology spread to fields extending far beyond what could be imagined when the Human Genome Project first began. Accordingly, the targets of the DOE JGI's sequencing activities changed, moving from a single human genome to the genomes of large numbers of microbes, plants, and other organisms, and the community of users of DOE JGI data similarly expanded and diversified. Transitioning into operating as a user facility, the DOE JGI modeled itself after other DOE user facilities, such as synchrotron light sources and supercomputer facilities, empowering the science of large numbers of investigators working in areas of relevance to energy and the environment. The JGI's approach to being a user facility is based on the concept that by focusing state-of-the-art sequencing and analysis capabilities on the best peer-reviewed ideas drawn from a broad community of scientists, the DOE JGI will effectively encourage creative approaches to DOE mission areas and produce important science. This clearly has occurred, only partially reflected in the fact that the DOE JGI has played a major role in more than 45 papers published in just the past three years alone in Nature and Science. The involvement of a large and engaged community of users working on important problems has helped maximize the impact of JGI science. A seismic technological change is presently underway at the JGI. The Sanger capillary-based sequencing process that dominated how sequencing was done in the last decade is being replaced by a variety of new processes and sequencing instruments. The JGI, with an increasing number of next-generation sequencers, whose throughput is 100- to 1,000-fold greater than the Sanger capillary-based sequencers, is increasingly focused in new directions on projects of scale and complexity not previously attempted. These new directions for the JGI come, in part, from the 2008 National Research Council report on the goals of the National Plant Genome Initiative as well as the 2007 National Research Council report on the New Science of Metagenomics. Both reports outline a crucial need for systematic large-scale surveys of the plant and microbial components of the biosphere as well as an increasing need for large-scale analysis capabilities to meet the challenge of converting sequence data into knowledge. The JGI is extensively discussed in both reports as vital to progress in these fields of major national interest. JGI's future plan for plants and microbes includes a systematic approach for investigation of these organisms at a scale requiring the special capabilities of the JGI to generate, manage, and analyze the datasets. JGI will generate and provide not only community access to these plant and microbial datasets, but also the tools for analyzing them. These activities will produce essential knowledge that will be needed if we are to be able to respond to the world's energy and environmental challenges. As the JGI Plant and Microbial programs advance, the JGI as a user facility is also evolving. The Institute has been highly successful in bending its technical and analytical skills to help users solve large complex problems of major importance, and that effort will continue unabated. The JGI will increasingly move from a central focus on 'one-off' user projects coming from small user communities to much larger scale projects driven by systematic and problem-focused approaches to selection of sequencing targets. Entire communities of scientists working in a particular field, such as feedstock improvement or biomass degradation, will be users of this information. Despite this new emphasis, an investigator-initiated user program will remain. This program in the future will replace small projects that increasingly can be accomplished without the involvement of JGI, with imaginative large-scale 'Grand Challenge' projects of foundational relevance to energy and the environment that require a new scale of sequencing and analysis capabilities. Close interactions with the DOE Bioenergy Research Centers, and with other DOE institutions that may follow, will also play a major role in shaping aspects of how the JGI operates as a user facility. Based on increased availability of high-throughput sequencing, the JGI will increasingly provide to users, in addition to DNA sequencing, an array of both pre- and post-sequencing value-added capabilities to accelerate their science.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-1597E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/949770 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 949770
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931398

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • March 12, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 18, 2016, 2:35 p.m.

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Gilbert, David. DOE Joint Genome Institute 2008 Progress Report, report, March 12, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931398/: accessed August 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.