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How does the community exploit these increased resources for functional analyses needed to address the major questions in Evo-Devo?

The intent of the First 100 is to provide a foundation for individual investigators or collaborators to begin addressing the important questions about the evolution of development. For example, homologs of developmentally important genes can be isolated from BAC libraries, sequenced and used for functional analysis. The next steps recommended depend on the resources coming out of this First 100 Project and will build upon it. Two types of projects are recommended to exploit and enhance this initial resource.

The first of these would be proposals that will focus on smaller groups of organisms using one or more of the First 100 as a reference point and will address very specific questions. These proposals would be expected to include requests for additional support for subcontracting for BAC libraries and eventually sequencing. For example, investigators will want to create BAC libraries from related organisms at critical phylogenetic nodes using one of the first BAC libraries as a reference point. All resulting genomic material will be deposited in genomic museums , vouchered and, along with informatics data, will immediately be shared with the community. We anticipate some projects will include collaborators with complementary expertise and this also would require an increase in award size. This approach will most quickly allow the greatest number of researchers to engage in hypothesis-driven Evo-Devo research. Individual grants will provide training opportunities for the growing number of students attracted to Evo-Devo and ensure that there is support for them to establish there own laboratories with a focus on Evo-Devo questions. The rapid increase in academic positions for faculty with Evo-Devo expertise requires sufficient resources to enable their research progress.

The second type of project recommended would make possible the development of the techniques and tools necessary for functional analysis in non-model systems. Crucial tools and techniques that will need to be developed for specific systems include:

  • Transgenic approaches
  • Transient expression systems
  • Regeneration in plant systems
  • In situ hybridization
  • Rearing and husbandry of organisms
  • Novel approaches

There are two potential enabling mechanisms necessary for the development of these research tools and both should be available. Grants focused specifically on developing tools that will be of value to those working on a specific group of organisms that could later be used to address substantive Evo-Devo questions will be needed. In addition, question-driven grants that require additional support and time for technique development for functional analysis (as well as genomic resources) should be encouraged. The importance of the questions and the severe limitations of current functional analysis techniques for both model and non-model systems justifies the investment and emphasis on technique development within the context of hypothesis-driven science. Both types of enabling grants will need to be of longer duration than standard NSF grant.

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Table of Contents

Evolution of Development meets Tree Of Life

What are the most exciting questions in the Evolution of Development?

Which resources are necessary to address the key questions about the Evolution of Development?

How does the community exploit these increased resources for functional analyses needed to address the major questions in Evo-Devo?