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UC San Diego partners with Venter Institute to build marine microbial genomics cyberinfrastructure

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) will build a state-of-the-art computational resource and develop software tools to decipher the genetic code of communities of microbial life in the world's oceans. The new resource will help scientists understand how microbes function in their natural ecosystems, enable studies on the effect humans are having on the environment, as well as permit insight into the evolution of life on Earth. The UCSD Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) will lead the project in partnership with J. Craig Venter Institute (Venter Institute) in Rockville, MD, and UCSD's Center for Earth Observations and Applications (CEOA) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

"This prototype cyberinfrastructure will be used by scientists studying marine life and ecosystems to examine--in an unprecedented manner--the genomic complexities of natural communities of micro-organisms as they have evolved in their local environments," said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. "This project will change the way large-scale science can be conducted and we are proud to develop this world-class and pioneering facility on our UCSD campus."

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded $24.5 million over seven years to create the Community Cyberinfrastructure for Advanced Marine Microbial Ecology Research and Analysis (CAMERA). Scientists will use CAMERA for metagenomics research--analyzing microbial genomic sequence data in the context of other microbial species, as well as in comparison to a variety of other "metadata" such as the chemical and physical conditions in which microbes are sampled.

"The explosion of data from the collection and sequencing of marine microbes requires a completely novel approach to storing, accessing, mining, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from this rich new wealth of information," said co-investigator J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., president o
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Contact: Doug Ramsey
dramsey@ucsd.edu
858-822-5825
University of California - San Diego
17-Jan-2006


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