Human Genome Project
U.S. Department of Energy

IMAGE Consortium Update

The following is an update to a popular science article on I.M.A.G.E.: The Scientist, 13(4), February 15, 1999.

Your article about the IMAGE Consortium provides a good overview of what was done in the past.

There have been new developments that might be of interest to your readers.

In Europe, the Europen Union has supported the EURO-IMAGE Consortium since 1997 coordinated by Pr. Charles Auffray, a founder of the IMAGE Consortium.

The two European distributors (Chris Mundy, Hinxton, UK and Hans Lehrach, MPI, Berlin, Germany) of the IMAGE Consortium resources are members of the EURO-IMAGE Consortium together with six genome centers in Germany (Annemarie Poustka, DKFZ and Wilhelm Ansorge, EMBL, both in Heidelberg), Italy (Andrea Ballabio, TIGEM, Milan), Spain (Xavier Estivill, IRO, Barcelona) and Sweden (Mathias Uhlen, KTH, Stockholm).

The central goal of the EURO-IMAGE Consortium is to establish reference full-length cDNA collections and sequence them completely, since the initial collections were made of incomplete cDNAs that were sequenced only from their ends.

This is part of a major international effort stimulated  by the IMAGE Consortium, in which teams in the US, Europe and Asia are participating. Coordination of efforts is made possible through annual meetings.

The 1999 meeting will take place in March at the Kazusa DNA Research Institute in Kisarazu in the Chiba Prefecture, reflecting the outstanding contribution of Japanese groups to advances in cDNA Research.

Also noteworthy is the recent publication in the leading journal Genome research ( by the group of Pr. Charles Auffray together with scientists from EMBL, Stanford University and the Kazusa DNA Research Institute of a paper describing :

“The Genexpress IMAGE Knowledge Base of the Human Brain Transcriptome : a Prototype Integrated Resource for Functional and Computational Genomics” Geneviève Piétu, Régine Mariage-Samson, Nicole-Adeline Fayein, Christiane Matingou, Eric Eveno, Rémi Houlgatte, Charles Decraene, Yves Vandenbrouck, Fariza Tahi, Marie-Dominique Devignes, Ute Wirkner,Wilhelm Ansorge, David Cox, Takahiro Nagase, Nobuo Nomura, and Charles Auffray Genome Res. 1999, 9: 195-209.

Expression profiles of 5058 human gene transcripts represented by an array of 7451 clones from the first IMAGE Consortium cDNA library from infant brain have been collected by semiquantitative hybridization of the array with complex probes derived by reverse transcription of mRNA from brain and five other human tissues. Twenty-one percent of the clones corresponded to transcripts that could be classified in general categories of low, moderate, or high abundance. These expression profiles were integrated with cDNA clone and sequence clustering and gene mapping information from an upgraded version of the Genexpress Index. For seven gene transcripts found to be transcribed preferentially or specifically in brain, the expression profiles were confirmed by Northern blot analyses of mRNA from eight adult and four fetal tissues, and 15 distinct regions of brain. In four instances, further documentation of the sites of expression was obtained by in situ hybridization of rat-brain tissue sections. A systematic effort was undertaken to further integrate available cytogenetic, genetic, physical, and genic map informations through radiation-hybrid mapping to provide a unique validated map location for each of these genes in relation to the disease map. The resulting Genexpress IMAGE Knowledge Base is illustrated by five examples presented in the printed article with additional data available on a dedicated Web site at the address

Charles Auffray
Unite de Genetique Moleculaire
et Biologie du Developpement
CNRS UPR 420  – 7-19 rue Guy Moquet
Tel : 33 (0)1 49 58 34 98 – Fax : 33 (0)1 49 58 35 09
E-mail : [email protected]