NEW YORK, Aug. 8 – Celera Genomics was given a $9 million grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help sequence the malaria-carrying mosquito Anopheles gambiae , the agency said on Wednesday.
The grant is part of a $13.8 million NIAID contribution to an international effort to sequence Anopheles . The research program, begun in 1999, strives to apply sequence information from the mosquito, malaria parasite, and the human genome to develop methods that slow the spread of the disease.
“This initiative will give us the pieces to an incredibly complex puzzle,” Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID, said in a statement. “By analyzing and comparing the genomes of all three organisms, researchers will have a wealth of new information for understanding malaria and how it is spread, and for use in developing new tools to help reduce its devastating impact.”
Celera, based in Rockville, Md., was chosen for the speed in which it would complete the sequence, according to the NIAID, which pegged next spring for project completion. At that time, Celera’s data will be combined with sequence information from the Pasteur Institute’s sequencing center Genoscope.
Other organizations involved in the mosquito sequencing consortium include the World Health Organization, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, and the University of Notre Dame.