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Welcoming Address by Mr Walter Erdelen  UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at the Human Variome Project Implementation & Integration Meeting

UNESCO, 11 May 2010

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Director-General of the Untied Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, let me welcome you to this, the third Human Variome Project Meeting on Implementation and Integration.  I would first like to emphasise how important this Meeting is – by bringing together scientists from around the world to identify, through research, the variations in genes that cause inherited and non-inherited diseases.

UNESCO’s main objective is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication and information. Established in 1945, UNESCO is the sole agency in the UN System having a unique mandate for the sciences, the “S” in UNESCO.  The Organization acts as an advocate for science, as a platform for sharing ideas and standard setting, and promotes dialogue between scientists and policy makers.

It empowers and catalyses innovative initiatives in the field of international cooperation in science, in particular through networks and capacity building activities.

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HVP3: Implentation and Integration commences at UNESCO with an opening address by Assistant Director-General Walter Erdelen and a plenary lecture from Sir John Burn

Individuals who work in the area to collect and share human variation information are invited to nominate either themselves or others for membership of the Human Variome Project’s interim Scientific Advisory Committee.

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Membership of the Human Variome Project Consortium is now available

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The Human Variome Strategic Plan is availble to view.

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News from the Human Variome Project Coordinating Centre

In the past two months we have had the opportunity to speak with Patrick Willems of GENDIA several times regarding the proposed mutaDATABASE project. We commend Patrick for the energy and vigour with which he is approaching the challenges that the Human Variome Project was created to address. The mutaDATABASE project is an ambitious undertaking that would eventually see a locus specific database in operation for every human gene. Obviously, this is a goal that is shared by the Human Variome Project.

However, there exists a substantial amount of overlap between aspects of the mutaDATABASE project and several other initiatives being run or facilitated by the Human Variome Project, the Human Genome Variation Society and GEN2PHEN. As one of the core values of the Human Variome Project is “efficiency” we strongly urge all of these overlapping initiatives to combine their efforts to minimise wasteful duplication of effort. The upcoming Human Variome Project meeting (http://www.humanvariomeproject.org/meetings/paris/) would be an ideal opportunity for a substantial discussion on these issues.

The Human Variome Project strongly supports all efforts to reduce the amount and severity of the burden of genetic disease on Human Society and actively encourages all projects designed with this objective in mind. It is only through working together, as a consortium, as a discipline, and as a planet, that we will accomplish our goals and alleviate some of the worst of human suffering.

The Genomic Disorders Research Centre, the coordinating office of the Human Variome Project, is pleased to announce that abstracts are now being accepted for consideration by the scientific committee of the 3rd Human Variome Project Meeting. This meeting will formally discuss the next steps for the Human Variome Project, focussing on implementation and integration. The aim is to determine the major ways in which the recommendations and actions from the first meetings can be best implemented in a global collaborative context to prepare the systems necessary to routinely and systematically gather the deluge of variations in genes causing disease now being discovered. Abstract submissions are invited from anyone interested in collaborating in this area. Presentations will be chosen from those who have or are planning systems which are relevant to the collection and display of all mutations in all genes from all countries. All abstracts will be sent to the Session Chairs for discussion, even in cases where the authors are unable to attend.

Background

The 3rd Human Variome Project Meeting is being held from the 10th to the 14th of May, 2010 at the UNESCO Headquarters, 7 place de Fontenoy, Paris, France.

The Genomic Disorders Research Centre, the Coordinating Office of the Human Variome Project, is pleased to announce the next step in the Human Variome Project’s evolution, the Project Roadmap has been completed and ratified by the Project’s International Planning Group. The Project Roadmap 2010–2012 is now available to be viewed at the Human Variome Project website. The Project Roadmap 2010–2012 serves multiple purposes. It:

  • clarifies the definition of the Human Variome Project;
  • outlines an overarching strategic vision for the Human Variome Project;
  • documents the new internal structure for the Human Variome Project Consortium; and
  • outlines several internal processes for the creation and adoption of Standards, Guidelines and Partner/Affiliated projects.

In line with the new internal structure for the Human Variome Project Consortium, nominations are now called for an interim international Scientific Advisory Committee which will be elected by the delegates of the 3rd Human Variome Project Meeting, which is being held from the 10th to the 14th of May, 2010 at the UNESCO Headquarters, 7 place de Fontenoy, Paris, France. Nominations can be made by visiting the Human Variome Project website.

We would also like to thank the members of the international Planning Group for their time and effort over the past four years. They have been instrumental in bringing the Human Variome Project to this stage, from where it can now move forward as a mature entity to assist those people working with inherited disease.

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Dates for the next Human Variome Project Conference released