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Whitehead Institute receives National Science Foundation grant to sequence Neurospora

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge,Massachusetts, has received a two-year, $5.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sequence the genome of the common laboratory fungus Neurospora crassa and to deposit the information in public databases.

"The National Science Foundation is delighted to support the complete sequencing of the genome of Neurospora crassa," says Rita Colwell, director of NSF. "This will be the first complete sequence of a filamentous fungus available in the public domain. It will be of extraordinary value not only because of the widespread use of this organism as a model in biological research, but also because of the boost it will give to research on a wide range of related organisms of scientific and economic importance."

Adds Mary Clutter, assistant director of NSF for biological sciences, "Fungi include over 250,000 different species, with members central to every ecosystem on the planet. As a group they are economically important,being used both for the production of foodstuffs and for industrial production of enzymes and chemicals. Knowing the complete sequence of the genome of a model filamentous fungus will provide the key to understanding the biology of a broad range of fungi and will contribute to understanding the biology of many other organisms."

The Whitehead researchers, with collaborators at the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Kentucky and the Fungal Genetics Stock Center at the University of Kansas, will also initiate the annotation of the sequence, and the identification of genes and other important features of the genome, as well as develop tools to display the information in ways that will be useful to researchers. The Neurospora genome consists of 43 million base pairs, or DNA letters.

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Contact: Ketrina Jackson
kjackson@nsf.gov
703-292-8070
National Science Foundation
25-Sep-2000


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