NSF RCN

The Porphyra/Algal Genomics Research Collaboration Network (RCN) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Our RCN is funded for five years (2008-2012). The RCN will expand each year to include additional scientists in support of these goals:

The Porphyra RCN supports establishment of the strong research network and bioinformatics’ resources needed to analyze the Porphyra umbilicalis genome; the draft sequence is expected to be ready for annotation by summer 2010.

Analyses of the Porphyra genome will include comparative studies using genomes of sister and derived groups of algae (e. g., other red algae, green algae, haptophytes, dinoflagellates). Such studies will improve our understanding of cellular evolution (e.g., endosymbiosis and endosymbiotic gene transfer). This research goal is aided by the breadth of scientific expertise within the RCN.

The RCN will foster new collaborations leading to experimental application of the genomic data to research questions in areas such as photosynthesis, growth/reproduction, nutrient metabolism, stress metabolism, polytrophic integrated aquaculture (e.g., bioremediation) and developmental biology. Genomic studies should also provide new markers for studies in molecular evolution and systematics.

Membership in the RCN is extended to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in addition to senior scientists. Each annual meeting has similar components: 1) updates on research progress, 2) formal bioinformatics’ training, 3) evaluation of the overall quality of annotation of the Porphyra genome, and 3) development by RCN members of cross-genomic and experimental research projects that make use of the new genomic data.