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NASA Seeks Info on Multi-investigator Omics-based Science

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants to tap the knowledge of the life sciences research community on methods for collecting, managing, and distributing omics data, and on what it may take to develop a space life sciences ‘omics database.

In a request for information posted this week, NASA said it wants to develop multi-investigator ‘omics-related strategies and projects, and is seeking input from 'omics research communities on what it will require to begin using such broad omics data sets in its research.

NASA noted that the RFI is not a solicitation for proposing projects to be funded, but is for planning purposes only at this point.

The agency has invited omics researchers to answer a series of questions that are posted on the NSPIRES web site, and it plans to use the answers to make decisions about the collection, management, and distribution of 'omics-type data collected in the course of space biology research.

NASA said that a recent survey report from the National Research Council suggested that NASA needs to use new’ omics technologies – including genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics – in its research, and that it needs to promote multi-investigator research approaches.

Until now, NASA said, the agency has not worked in such approaches at a programmatic level. The agency also noted that most universities currently own and operate central research facilities that use a range of omics technologies that are beyond the scope of single-investigator projects, and that it might benefit from using a similar multi-investigator approach.

Currently, NASA does maintain centralized computational and research capabilities in the life sciences, and these may be applied to create a multi-user ‘omics research capability that would support NASA-funded studies in the space life sciences.

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