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Sequencing-Related NSF Grants Awarded April 10 — May 21, 2007

Microbial Genome Sequencing: Genome sequencing of Plant-associated Azospirillum brasilense.
Start date: April 1, 2006
Expires: July 31, 2008
Awarded amount to date: $447,243
Principal investigator: Igor Jouline
Sponsor: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Funds a collaboration between the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia, the University at Buffalo, and several laboratories from Australia, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, and Israel to sequence the genome of the plant-associated bacterium Azospirillum brasilense. This bacterium has the potential to be developed as an organic fertilizer for important crops, such as wheat, rice, corn, and sorghum, according to the grant abstract. A. brasilense possesses “unique biological characteristics” that can also be used in the industrial production of biological molecules, such as anti-oxidants, the abstract states.

Microbial Genome Sequencing: Genome Sequences for Four Phototrophic Prokaryotes.
Start date: Sept. 1, 2006
Expires: June 30, 2007
Awarded amount to date: $412,651
Principal investigator: Robert Blankenship
Sponsor: Washington University
Funds a project to sequence the genomes of four photosynthetic bacteria: Heliobacterium modesticaldum, Roseobacter denitrificans, Rhodocista centenaria, and Acaryochloris marina. The genome sequences of these organisms are expected to fill “large gaps in the available genomic data for photosynthetic organisms,” according to the grant abstract.
SBIR Phase I: Genetic Data Processing for Viral Researchers and Diagnostics.
Start date: July 1, 2007
Expires: Dec. 31, 2007
Awarded amount to date: $97,637
Principal investigator: Susanna Lamers
Sponsor: BioInfoExperts
Supports development of a web-based tool for analyzing viral sequences. “Availability of a sequence analysis tool that would help investigators manipulate viral sequences and detect contaminants would be of value to researchers as well as to diagnostic laboratories,” according to the grant abstract.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.