The McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI) at Washington University School of Medicine and its institutional partners recently got $29.5 million in NIH funding for two new genome sequencing centers that allow scientists to generate and maintain the most comprehensive reference sequence of the human genome. The NIH has awarded $2.5 million per year for five years to Washington University in St. Louis, University of California, Santa Cruz and the European Bioinformatics Institute, which will work with the National Center for Biotechnology Information, to form the WashU-UCSC-EBI Human Genome Reference Center. The center “will provide a next-generation reference sequence of the human genome as a resource for the scientific community and support interactions within the genomics community,” NIH said in a statement. MGI, which is led by Jeffrey Milbrandt, M.D., Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Professor and Head, Department of Genetics, and includes many Department of Genetics faculty members, will contribute heavily to the effort.

A second component of the sequencing project, the Human Reference Genome Sequencing Center, received $3.5 million per year over five years. The center aims to sequence 350 additional diverse human genomes with this funding. An international team including Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, University of California, Santa Cruz, The Rockefeller University, Mt. Sinai, Harvard University, Broad Institute, Coriell Institute for Medical Research, McGill University, University of Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute will participate in the project.

Congratulations, all!