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SENATOR DOMENICI SUPPORTS SCIENTISTS OF HUMAN GENOME PROJECT, BIOTECH INDUSTRY, IN KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE

SENATOR DOMENICI SUPPORTS SCIENTISTS OF HUMAN GENOME PROJECT, BIOTECH INDUSTRY, IN KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE
 HILTON HEAD, S.C., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In a strong gesture of support for researchers of the human genome and the biotechnology industry, the Honorable Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) gave the keynote address this morning at a prominent international conference on human genome research. Approximately 400 scientists from around the world are attending the fourth annual Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference, which began on Saturday and continues through Wednesday, Sept. 30.
 Senator Domenici praised the dramatic progress of the federally funded Human Genome Project, which hopes to identify all 100,000 human genes in as little as the next ten years, thereby accelerating the pace of medical breakthroughs for all 4,000 diseases of genetically-based origin. "If we succeed, we will dig ourselves out of an enormously expensive healthcare system and move into an era of real preventative health care for our citizens -- an Age of Wellness," he said.
 "With federal support through the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy national laboratories, U.S. scientists remain on the cutting edge of health and biotechnology research. In no area is this biotech research more pronounced than the Human Genome Project. This inspection of our 'genetic inheritance' holds awesome promise and the potential for unprecedented change in health care."
 Domenici Visits Scientists Sharing Data on
 10,000 New Human Gene Sequences
 Senator Domenici visited scientists taking part in special interactive scientific computer sessions at the conference, where data on more than 10,000 new human gene sequences is being shared for the first time. (This is approximately five times the number of genes known only two years ago.)
 Laboratories from around the world have brought their latest gene sequences to the conference to collaborate on previously unpublished data. Over the next several days, scientists will run computer analyses, compare results, evaluate methods and gain a new understanding of the relationship between human genes and their role in biology and evolution.
 Genes for Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis,
 Mental Retardation Found
 Funding for the Genome initiative has enabled scientists to discover the flawed gene causing 'fragile x syndrome,' the most common form of mental retardation among males, and researchers have also uncovered genes for muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis. Many of the scientists responsible for these breakthroughs are attending the conference.
 Longstanding Interest in Matching Interests of
 Science and Industry
 Senator Domenici underscored his support for legislation and policies that will encourage the exchange of scientific information and provide an environment for biotech companies to flourish. Senator Domenici testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks on the issue of patenting genetic materials.
 Senator Domenici was one of the first members of Congress to recognize the benefits of matching the interests of science and technology. In 1986, he authored the Technology Transfer Act to facilitate the interaction between federal and federally funded laboratories and the private sector. He also introduced the first Genome Project Legislation, has held several workshops and hearings on the Genome Project, including the annual "report card," and has often spoken on behalf of the Genome Project before other committees.
 The ranking Republican member of the budget committee and a member of the appropriations committee, he was elected to a fourth Senate term in 1990.
 The purpose of the Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference is to gather research scientists from around the world to share and exchange the latest developments in genetic research, including new genome sequences and mapping data. According to Dr. J. Craig Venter, one of the conference's co-chairs, this will lead to advances in genetically- based therapeutics and diagnostics.
 -0- 9/28/92
 /CONTACT: Susan Hullin or Martha Harris at the Hyatt Regency, Hilton Head, 803-785-1234, ext. 1281; or Scott Chesney in New York, 212-922-0900, all of the Dilenschneider Group, for the Institute for Genomic Research/ CO: Human Genome Project ST: South Carolina, New Mexico IN: MTC SU:


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Date:Sep 28, 1992
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