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A European Network for Integrated Genome Annotation

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Organising the genome jungle

European laboratories have made major progress in mapping the human genome and documenting relevant data. However, these independent efforts in different countries must be united to advance this important field in health and science.

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Genome-related information is emerging from laboratories all over Europe, but its disparate distribution is proving counterproductive to researchers who want to exploit the latest data. The EU-funded project 'A European network for integrated genome annotation' (Biosapiens) documented relevant laboratories and available data using advanced computer software and direct input of those involved. Representing over 24 laboratories across 14 European nations, the project developed a sophisticated Distributed Annotation System (DAS) to collate all the data available. In parallel, the implicated laboratories installed a DAS server and submitted relevant data, creating a formidable network that can be tapped into from any member organisation. By the first year, the project had installed and tested servers in 15 laboratories, paving the way for more parties to join. These efforts were coupled with strong marketing and press initiatives, as well as workshops and presentations for scientists and the public, in order to disseminate knowledge of the network. Major achievements in this direction were then advertised to other potential partners across Europe and the United States, encouraging dynamic exchanges among biologists and researchers significantly. The project also evaluated the impact it had on its budding member scientists by surveying what their project experiences were like and where their career paths led them thereafter. This was achieved through a questionnaire destined to all post-doctoral researchers, building a solid picture of Biosapiens' impact beyond the network. Today, the information generated is easily accessible through a dedicated web portal, contributing to increased competitiveness for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and encouraging new discoveries. With training and improved information tools having come out of Biosapiens, exploitation of genome annotation data for biologists across Europe will become a given.

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