Indiana University Bloomington’s world-class Drosophila Genomics Resource Center has been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant. The $2.7 million is an extension of the grant that founded the center in 2003 and will cover a five-year period.
Fruit flies are often used in biomedical research since they are genetically similar to humans, with nearly 10,000 genes in common. The resource center provides the research community with access to genomics information and resources, and also assists in the maturation of techniques used in fruit fly research. "We service not only the domestic research community but also the international research community," said Andrew Zelhof, director of the Center. "People across the whole spectrum of biology are using our resources, and this award will help us continue to do this for another five years."
The center is one of three federally-funded IU facilities that use fruit flies in biological research: the Drosophila Genomics Resource Center, Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, and FlyBase. The stock center conserves 63,000 genetically different strains, and Flybase is a database of DNA sequence information. The center also comprises two other groups at Cambridge University and Harvard. The high concentration of fruit fly research centers has earned IU a reputation. "We’re kind of the mecca of the fly world," Zelhof says.