NIAID building bioinformatics resource centers

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is seeking bids for an unspecified number of Bioinformatic Resource Centers.

The centers will house databases of genomic information for at least five microorganisms. The purpose is to provide scientists with research resources to help them develop potential vaccines, treatments and diagnostics against diseases the microbes cause.

The databases will enable scientists to find "polymorphisms," differences in the gene sequences among the same organisms, and to determine if particular variations correspond to drug resistance, how deadly a strain of the germ is or how likely it is to cause disease.

The organisms that NIAID is most interested in are potential bioterror agents and emerging diseases, including anthrax, the West Nile virus and viral hemorrhagic fevers.

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