UW programs will take the next steps in genome research

It was huge news when scientists successfully sequenced the human genome in 2003. Now medical science is pushing forward and the UW is at the heart of the quest.

The National Human Genome Research Institute recently announced the establishment of two major programs at UW that will receive about $30 million in funding over four years.

The new UW Center for Mendilian Genomics will use the latest advances in rapid genome sequencing to aid the discovery of the genetic changes for inborn diseases and birth defects caused mainly by single-gene mutations. These include conditions like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and muscular dystrophy. Funding for the new center will total $5.2 million a year for four years.

The UW has also been designated for a Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Project to speed the application of genomic science to medical care. The aim is to explore ways health-care clinicians might use genome sequencing information in caring for patients. In particular, the UW researchers will work with people diagnosed with colon cancer. The Division of Medical Genetics will receive $2.3 million per year for four years.