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Research Agencies Announce $15 Million for Germ Sequencing

NEW YORK, Jan. 17--The Microbial Genome Sequencing Program is currently taking grant applications, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday.

 

The program supports high-throughput sequencing of viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, oomycetes and protists. The two agencies plan to choose between 10 and 20 grantees who will divvy up about $15 million for sequencing projects that may last up to three years.

 

Strong candidates, according to the announcement, include organisms "of fundamental biological interest," those important to the national interest, to agriculture or forestry, or to food safety quality and safety.

 

Off-limits for this program: bugs that are strictly human pathogens or functional genomics projects.

 

Grants will probably not exceed $2.5 million, according to the announcement: last year's awards ranged from $350,000 to $2 million. The agencies expect sequencers to keep their projected costs below $3 per read, including everything form template production to initial annotation.

 

Last year's projects included efforts to sequence an oceanic archaeon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a project at TIGR to sequence Myxococcus xanthus, a model bacterium; and the sequencing of Phytophthora sojae, a soybean pathogen.

 

Letters of intent are due Feb. 18, and the deadline for full proposals is April 17.

 

For more information, see the NSF website.

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