“The fifth important thing was having key congressional support. If you have good goals and can get someone to articulate that, that’s helpful.” Phillips also said that it would be key to show Congress that the work planned under the initiative was not being duplicated elsewhere, for example, in the private sector.
“Sixth is having key agency leadership, and I assume that will happen with the interagency working group (representatives of the USDA, DOE, and NIH have formed a working group that is focusing on animal genomics research program). The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was extremely important in our case. We had people who understood and really worked on our behalf both here and abroad.”
“Finally, one of the important aspects was that we had discussions with respected science sounding boards. The first thing we did was to have this kind of meeting at the National Academy of Sciences. That was followed up with a colloquium of a broader set of scientists held at National Academies facilities in Irvine, California. We discussed it at a Gordon Conference (Gordon Research Conferences provide an international forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the sciences), and particularly brought in the international dimension there. We had discussions with the panel that was reviewing the Arabidopsis situation. And they told us it could be speeded up by several years with more funding. So, that became one of our priorities. I think Congress respected the fact that we had talked to the best scientists in the world to design this program. Finally, be sure you keep the international community involved, not just in terms of some interactions, but, actually helping you work through your goals.” By adopting a similar set of approaches, Phillips said, genome researchers interested in domestic animals could improve their chances of establishing and developing their own genome programs.