IU Bloomington's world-class fruit fly genetic center awarded $2.7M grant renewal


Vials of fruit flies at the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center.
The Drosophila Genomics Resource Center is one of three world-class fruit fly research facilities at IU Bloomington. The others are the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center (pictured) and FlyBase. Photo by IU Communications

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The National Institutes of Health has awarded Indiana University Bloomington's Drosophila Genomics Resource Center a five-year, $2.7 million grant. The award is a continuation of the grant that established the center in 2003 and will carry it into its 20th year of funding.

The Drosophila Genomics Resource Center is one of three world-class, federally funded facilities at IU that support the use of fruit flies in biological research: the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, the Drosophila Genomics Resource Center and FlyBase.

Drosophila is a key "model organism" used in biomedical research, due to the genetic similarity of flies and humans, which share close to 10,000 genes. Over the years, scientists have learned how human and other organisms' genes function by conducting research with Drosophila.

The Drosophila Genomics Resource Center provides the research community with broader access to genomics resources on fruit flies by acquiring, archiving, curating and distributing essential genetic tools to researchers nationally and internationally. The center also supports the development of improved techniques for Drosophila research and tries to generate new resources to benefit the community.

"Having this type of resource center is valuable for the Drosophila community," said Andrew Zelhof, an associate professor in the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Department of a Biology and director of the Drosophila Genomics Resource Center. "The Drosophila community is always developing new resources, and having these items curated in one location improves the access to them and ensures that they will be available for years to come.