NIH's genome institute to unveil new roadmap for genomics research in 2020

The National Human Genome Research Institute, a program of the National Institutes of Health, plans to publish a strategic plan on how to achieve its vision for national genomics research in October 2020.

The NHGRI launched its effort to develop an updated vision Feb. 12 at the 82nd meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research in Rockville, Md. To inform its 2020 strategic plan, the agency plans to host workshops, town halls and social media conversations with scientific and medical communities, non-profit and private sectors, patient groups, and the general public during the next two years.

From 1990 to 2003, the NHGRI's mission focused on establishing a more complete understanding of the structure of the human genome, according to a Feb. 12 agency statement. Most recently, the organization rolled out its 2011 strategic plan on cultivating genomic medicine.

Under its 2020 strategic plan, NHGRI expects to focus on five areas: basic genomics and genomic technologies; the genomics of disease; genomic and precision medicine; genomic data science; and society, education and engagement.

The agency will likely prioritize discussions on emerging areas of genomics that are "not well-defined," "will benefit from significant investments" and are not "specific to particular diseases or physiological systems," according to the Feb. 12 statement. It will also deemphasize well-established and strongly funded topics, such as cancer and microbial genomics.

"We are looking to establish a vision for our research portfolio that is responsive to the scientific community and resonates with people from diverse communities and perspectives," said Eric Green, MD, PhD, director of NHGRI.

The NHGRI's unveiling of its strategic plan in October 2020 will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Human Genome Project, which launched in 1990. The Human Genome Project is an international effort to map a complete sequence of the human genome.

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