History and Development of the NGFN

The systematic decipherment of the human genome had its starting point in 1990 with the launch of the Humane Genome Project (HGP) by an international network of scientist. The project was financed with public money.
In 1995 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) started the German Human Genome Project (DHGP) which between 1995 and 2004 conducted basic genetic analyses to decode the human genome. This led to the development of well organized research and service structures and transfer of technology between science and industry.

Based on these achievements and structures, the BMBF founded in 2001 the National Genome Research Network (Nationales Genomforschungsnetzwerk, NGFN). The success of the network was and still is due to the outstanding cooperation of scientists from various disciplines at different institutions. The main goal is to identify genes, that are involved in the development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, cancer, neurological disorders, infections and inflammations as well as diseases due to environmental factors.
This intensive cooperation is “internationally groundbreaking”. This was confirmed by an international panel of experts in 2003. They also emphasized the high impact of the NGFN for Germany’s innovation and competitive capacity in the field of disease control.
This success cleared the way for the 2nd funding period from 2004-2008.

From 2001-2008, NGFN scientists already identified disease genes and mechanisms, that are relevant for a multitude of diseases.

In order to further extent this success through specific research and funding programs, the NGFN now, with the newly established Program for Medical Genome Research, stands in the 3rd funding period. The program consists of two harmonised focuses: NGFN-Plus and NGFN-Transfer plus the participation at several  international projects: the “1000 Genomes Project” , “Genomics and Physiopathology of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases” as well as the “International Cancer Genome Project”.

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