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NIDDK to Fund Gene Expression Studies of Genitourinary Organs

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will provide $1 million this year to fund research projects that study how gene and protein expression affect prenatal development of organs in the lower urinary tract.

The funding will support new research to enhance the GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP), which focuses on studying the molecular anatomy of this region, which includes the bladder, ureter, urethra, sphincters, and prostate, and some studies that include kidney development, by creating the GUDMAP Atlas.

NIDDK believes that a comprehensive understanding of how these organs develop in the embryo is necessary to understand the cellular signaling cascades that control development in the womb and which are involved in the regenerative and repair processes in adults as well.

The GUDMAP effort started nearly a decade ago with the aim of developing a low-resolution gene expression atlas of all genes expressed in development of these organs, performing high-resolution gene expression studies using molecular technologies, and producing a database that provides the entire research community with data.

The GUDMAP grants will support several types of projects. Researchers may propose large-scale spatial analyses of gene/protein expression using whole-mount in situ approaches or libraries of antibodies to provide near genome-wide analyses of gene expression in relevant organs and nervous or vascular systems.

Scientists also may conduct low-resolution analyses of gene expression focused on a restricted set of genes, or engage in three-dimensional analyses of sets of genes or gene products using tagged gene constructs, antibodies, or section in situ hybridization. Other studies may study gene expression programs in cell types using next-generation RNA sequencing or other tools to establish a set of cell-type specific molecular markers.