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Specific research programme (EEC) in the field of health: human genome analysis, 1990-1992

Part of the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (1987-1991) under subactivity 1.1: "Health".

It will be coordinated with the following Community R&TD programmes:
- "Medical and Public Health Research" Programme (MHR 4C, 1987-1991), especially the area "Early detection and diagnosis of Cancer", which is closely related to the genetic field through the logic of sucogenes;
- "Advanced Informatics in Medicine" (AIM) Programme, especially its Action Line II "Strengthening Europe's position in Medical and BioInformatics (MBI) and health care", which could support the development of effective communication and information processing within the proposed networks;
- The biotechnology programmes, especially BRIDGE (1990-1994), with which it will be coordinated in respect of expression vectors, gene transfer and the genetic engineering of animal and human cells;
- The "Environmental Protection" Programme (ENVPROT 4C), especially its mutagenesis area;
- The "Stimulation" Plan (SCIENCE), especially its "Biocommunication" area.

The programme will also interact with other Community activities in the field of information technology (IT) and telecommunications.
To use and improve new biotechnologies involving human genome analysis and genetic mapping in the interests of risk-forecasting and the early diagnosis, prevention, prognosis and treatment of human diseases, particularly hereditary diseases and cancers, and with a view to a better understanding of the mechanisms of heredity.
Four areas:

- Improving the genetic map of man:
Establishment of a Europe-based worldwide network to collect the DNA of large families and so provide well-characterized genetic material and sets of probes for locating the relative positions of genes on the chromosomes;

- Setting up of ordered clone libraries of human DNA:
Creation of a European network of laboratories establishing overlapping clone libraries and support for limited sequencing of DNA;

- Improving advanced genetic technologies:
. New biochemical reagents;
. Improving methods for detecting and locating genetic markers;
. Developing new vectors for cloning large DNA fragments and procedures for transfecting chromosomes;
. Developing model systems for the reproducible and stable expression of medically important genes in vivo and in vitro;
. Developing new computer software to collect and manipulate data from genome sequencing and mapping;

- Training:
Assistance with the technical transfer, particularly in the clinical field, of molecular genetics methods to Member States where they are currently underdeveloped.
The Commission, assisted by the Management and Coordination Advisory Committee (CGC) on Medical and Health Research, is responsible for executing the programme through shared-cost contracts, support for centralized facilities and networks, training contracts, training grants, courses, consultations with national experts, organization of study group meetings, participation in seminars and symposia, and publications.

Commission support may range from about 50% of total expenditure in the case of shared-cost contracts to 100% in other cases. The contracts entered into by the Commission will regulate the rights and obligations of each party and, in particular, the methods of disseminating, protecting and exploiting research results.

Participants may be research institutions, universities, private enterprises or combinations of these located in the Member States. The Commission is authorized to negotiate agreements with non-Member States and international organizations, particularly with non- Member States taking part in European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research (COST) and with countries which have concluded scientific and technical framework cooperation agreements with the Community, with a view to associating them fully or partially with the programme.

In the second year of implementation, the Commission will undertake a review of the programme and submit a report to the Council and the European Parliament. A final report on the results achieved, as evaluated by independent experts, will subsequently be submitted.