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NIH to Support Comprehensive E. coli K-12 Data Resource

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has committed around $1 million in 2009 funding to support a model organism database for the K-12 strain of the Escherichia coli bacterium.
NIH said in a funding announcement released last week that it will award a single award of approximately $1 million next year and up to $700,000 per year over the subsequent three years for the database, which will serve as a “central resource” for K-12 data.
The funding announcement is a reissue of a similar RFA that NIH announced in 2005 that ultimately supported the development of EcoliHub, a resource that uses web services to integrate various existing K-12 databases. EcoliHub also includes a workbench for analyzing K-12 information, software to analyze K-12 structural information, and other features.
NIH said that applicants for the new RFA are “strongly encouraged” to become familiar with EcoliHub and to describe how they will either build upon the current EcoliHub system or “obtain current EcoliHub information and build a new system.”
The new RFA solicits cooperative agreement applications to develop a resource that will “organize and increase the utility of sequence, sequence annotation, high throughput data, data mining algorithms, mathematical models, structural and functional data, and legacy information related to the biology of the K-12 Group, while identifying and filling any gaps in informatics activities needed by the research community.”
The K-12 Resource will provide access to existing sources, as well as internally generated data and information, NIH said, adding that it will be “responsive” to the needs of experimental and computational scientists, and will also serve as a “K-12 centric forum for news and announcements.”
Applicants must address four key areas, including: the content, data, and tools to be provided and integrated; the database and website interface design; how the resource will be managed and integrated and how quality will be assured; and how outreach and end-use community relationships will be conducted.
The database will provide access to definitive sequence and genome annotation data, and will utilize new and existing software tools for analyzing and representing data from the experimental literature. It will offer a search and display interface for users with varying familiarity with the K-12 organisms.

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