The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) was created in 1997 to unite the expertise and resources in DNA sequencing, informatics, and technology development pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) genome centers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). In 1999, to accelerate the completion of DOE’s commitment to the Human Genome Project, the University of California, which manages Berkeley Lab, leased laboratory and office space in a light industrial park in Walnut Creek, California, to consolidate activities. The significant economies of scale achieved in doing so enabled the JGI to be the first to publish the sequence analysis of the target chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, in the journal Nature. Following this accomplishment, the JGI went on to advance basic science by sequencing scores of microbial species as well as several model organisms and contributing this information freely to the public databases.
In 2004, the JGI established itself as a national user facility, which has grown to now serve a worldwide community of 1,933 primary users – those who apply for JGI resources and are engaged in active projects. In addition, there are nearly 10,000 data users worldwide that 2019 alone, downloaded 2.16 million files and a total of 400 terabytes of data.
The vast majority of JGI proposals are supported under the auspices of the Community Science Program (CSP), characterize organisms (plants and microbes) relevant to the DOE science mission areas of bioenergy, global carbon cycling, and biogeochemistry. Among the JGI’s largest dedicated partnerships are the DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs), which seek to accelerate the development of next generation cellulosic biofuels and bioproducts. The JGI continues to receive its support from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in DOE’s Office of Science.
The JGI is led by Nigel Mouncey, the fourth Director in the Institute’s history. In December, 2019, JGI relocated to the newly-built Integrative Genomics Building (IGB), a home it now shares with the staff of the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase), on the heart of the Berkeley Lab.
The JGI is enormously productive, not only in terms of generation of DNA sequence data (in FY19 alone, over 326 trillion nucleotides) but also with respect to generating publications. In 2019, JGI has co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications.