Comparative Genomics Research Program

The purpose of this Notice is to inform potential applicants that the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is participating, effective immediately, in PAR-17-482 “Comparative Genomics Research Program”. NIFA invites application for research developing comparative approaches that can be used to understand genome structure and function and the relationship between genomic features and phenotypes. NIFA will support studies that enable the use of a diverse array of species to advance our ability to improve genome annotations that complements Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FANNG) efforts or understand basic biological processes related to health and disease of agriculturally important animals, as well as studies that develop novel analytical tools and resources for the comparative genomics research community. Continue reading

Scientists discover the Mediterranean fruit fly’s genetic code

By Jan Suszkiw, Agricultural Research Service

An international team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other research organizations have sequenced the complete genome of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata. This pest attacks more than 260 fruit, vegetable and nut crops worldwide, causing billions of dollars annually in direct damage, export sanctions, lost markets, and other costs.

Reported in the September issue of Genome Biology, this advance is like finding the medfly’s playbook of life. It gives researchers an edge in spotting weaknesses to exploit, particularly genes tied to the pest’s ability to reproduce, withstand pathogens, find host plants, and break down environmental toxins. The advance should also foster greater understanding of how the insect’s genetics make it such a successful invasive pest. Continue reading