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NIH to Fund New 'Omics Tools for Xenopus Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health intends to support efforts to develop, use, and integrate new genetic, genomic, and proteomic tools based on the water frog Xenopus, a well-studied vertebrate model, under a new funding program.

Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, and the Trans-NIH Xenopus Working Group, the two new grant programs will fund studies using Xenopus to elucidate the genetic and molecular basis of cell biological events including embryonic development and organogenesis.

For several years, according to NIH, the international research community has been generating genetic and genomic data and reagents for X. tropicalis and X. laevis, such as cDNA libraries and expressed sequence tag sequences; UniGene clusters; cDNA clones and sequences; genetic maps; genomic libraries, sequences, and assemblies; microarrays; and transgenic and mutant animals.

These and other resources and technologies make Xenopus a strong model for vertebrate biomedical research studies, and NIH now wants scientists to begin to exploit this model through 'omics-based studies. To fund the studies, NIH plans to fund research and exploratory grants with up to $275,000 over two years, as well as research projects grants of varying budgets for up to five years.

The researchers may plan to develop new tools for genetic, genomic, or proteomic resources that can be used to detect and characterize genes, pathways, and phenotypes of interest for studying processes, such as cell division, signaling, and migration, as well as studies that use new 'omics tools or resources to pursue those same processes.

The research may include a range of projects, such as using new genetic and genomic data to study genes and gene products involved in cellular processes; projects using existing techniques to analyze genomic data to elucidate the genetic bases of cellular and developmental events; efforts to develop new techniques to generate genetic maps, mine data, and use microarray analyses; and development of technologies for gene expression manipulation, high-throughput screens, and techniques for targeting induced local lesions in genomes, among others.