University of Aberdeen Foundation, Inc.

To improve representation of the built environment fungi in the UNITE, an open access database for molecular identification of fungi

  • Amount $335,000
  • City New York, NY
  • Investigator Andrew Taylor
  • Year 2015
  • Program Science
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

This grant supports an initiative by Andy Taylor at the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with Urmas Kхljalg at the University of Tartu in Estonia, that aims to significantly expand the UNITE database, a key resource used by mycologists in the genomic identification of fungi. The UNITE database contains genetic sequences of known fungi, which allows researchers to identify unknown fungi collected at field sites by matching the genetic sequences of collected samples to the master samples in the database. Unfortunately, the UNITE database lacks reliable standard sequence data on many of the fungi commonly found in indoor and built environments, which deprives researchers working on the microbiology of the built environment of a powerful tool for taxonomic identification. Over the next two years, Taylor and Kхljalg will target and sequence previously unsequenced fungal strains relevant to human and built environments, hold two sequence annotation workshops that aim to improve the quality of available sequence data, and develop metadata standards and protocols that will enable better inter-database comparison of collected fungal data.

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