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NHGRI to Fund IT for Microbiome Data

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has put $2.5 million into a grant program to fund development of new software for use in the Human Microbiome Project.

The NIH Common Fund will support three-year grants of up to $350,000 per year and two-year grants of up to $150,000 to back bold and innovative computational biology technologies. The program will be administered by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The aim is to develop new tools for analyzing, interpreting, and validating data from the HMP, which is an effort to use genomic technologies such as metagenomic sequencing to describe the various microbes living in and on the human body, and understanding their involvement in health and disease.

Researchers may use the funds to develop a range of computational technologies that could support the HMP, including gene prediction tools that can analyze assembled reads such as those from metagenomic samples and adaptations of current gene finding tools.

They also may develop tools to identify gene function based on data from assembled genomes or sequence fragments, or new tools to provide functional annotation of metagenomes, metabolic reconstruction, or other functional pathways. NIH also is seeking tools to study the microbiome using gene or genome-based information.

In addition, the institute seeks new methods for data mining, analysis, and visualization of patterns in genomic data from microbial populations, as well as software that integrates genomic and clinical phenotype data along with associated metadata in order to develop correlations between the human microbiome and disease.

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