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Researcher awarded $2.27 million to study environmental effects on gene copy number
Date:10/4/2010

nterpret the condition specific action of all genes of the water flea.

"The return on past investments by IU towards fostering cross-disciplinary genomics research is phenomenal," said John Colbourne, genomics director of the IU Bloomington Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics and co-founder of the Daphnia Genomics Consortium. "This newly awarded project can potentially bridge two fields of research -- biomedical and environmental sciences -- that have traditionally worked apart.

"The promise in studying the genetics of Daphnia populations is that we may better understand causal associations between environmental conditions, the composition and function of genomes, and disease," Colbourne added. "Translating results from this research to humans rests on the great insight of the last 15-20 years in biology -- that fundamental genetic pathways are very similar in all organisms."

The IU studies will include working with Daphnia populations that developed tolerance to extreme exposure to toxic metals, including cadmium, in heavily polluted mining regions near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. The unique biology of Daphnia will enable researchers to map genetic changes that took place in Daphnia populations in the past and associate the changes with changes in environmental exposure.

The grant builds on past training and support for Shaw's research career. He was an NIEHS Fellow while in graduate school at the University of Kentucky and an NIEHS-funded postdoctoral researcher with the Dartmouth College Superfund Basic Research Program. He has since 2004 been a summer research associate at Mt. Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine, and he came to IU Bloomington in 2007 with support from IU's Commitment to Excellence program, which funded the creation of faculty positions for research across its schools and departments in environmental sciences.

The ONES award supports not only a defined research project but also activitie
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Contact: Jana Wilson
wilsonjs@indiana.edu
812-856-5490
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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