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NHGRI to Fund Human Microbiome Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Human Genome Research Institute will fund up to $2 million this year to several investigators studying new technologies for obtaining microbe samples for use in sequencing programs in the Human Microbiome Project.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health’s Roadmap Initiative, the NHGRI will support between four and ten programs for up to three years to support the HMP’s efforts to expand the number of microbial genome sequences.
NIH listed a number of potential strategies that these R01 and R21 grants might support, including methods to isolate single microbial cells that are useful in analyzing the large number of species in the human microbiota, and development of methods for culturing additional species.
These new approaches could include ways to obtain pure cultures or mixed cultures of small numbers of species that could be used in genomic analysis studies of the human microbiota.
Investigators could propose methods to isolate, amplify, or clone DNA of whole genomes from individual cells, or could develop methods to “normalize” the complexities of populations at the cellular or DNA level. These methods could facilitate the ability to isolate single cells that are rare within a population, or to perform bioinformatics analysis on metagenomic sequences.
These programs also could include methods that disaggregate cells from the complex mixtures of microbial cells, human cells, and extracellular materials that comprise human microbial cells.

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