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CSBR: Living Stocks: The Escherichia Coli Genetic Stock Center


This award will contribute to the operation of the E. coli Genetic Stock Center (CGSC) at Yale University. Escherichia coli is an important model organism and is arguably the most completely understood cellular organism from a genetics and biochemistry standpoint. This high degree of understanding has made E. coli not just an important subject of research, but also the laboratory workhorse for studying a broad variety of organisms as well as an invaluable tool for biotechnology. The mission of the CGSC is to act as a central repository for genetically modified strains of E. coli created by the research community, so that they may be readily available to other researchers and educators. To that end, the CGSC maintains a collection of about 28,000 cultures of genetically defined derivatives of E. coli K-12. There are over 8,000 different mutations represented in this strain collection with verified mutations in over 90% of the 4,111 identified genes in the sequenced E. coli K-12 genome. These cultures are distributed to researchers and educators throughout the US and in over 65 countries worldwide. In addition to the distribution of cultures, the CGSC is also an information resource, and provides information about strains, mutations, genes, gene products and genetic maps, in a fully searchable database on the web. Importantly CGSC also acts as a source of expert information and advice for those researchers who have questions about using the E. coli strains in the collection. <br/><br/>The CGSC will continue to maintain and expand its publicly available database on strain genotypes, phenotypes, histories and pedigrees, which is unique to the Stock Center. The information systems will be enhanced to increase compatibility with other E. coli web resources, including the EcoliWiki project, EcoGene and EcoCyc. The CGSC is collaborating with other US culture collections and the World Data Centre for Microorganisms (WDCM) so that the collection can be indexed by global strain databases and to create a national microbial strain database. Over the period of this award, capabilities for our new strain construction services will be expanded for those users who require a genetically modified strain, but lack the capability of constructing it themselves, particularly to those outside of the traditional bacterial genetics community. This is a service unique to the CGSC and has shown great growth potential. Access to the strain collection database, including genotypes, gene function and map location, as well as an extensive bibliography are available online (<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

May, John
Yale University
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