Drosophila Researchers Win Prize


At its annual meeting in San Francisco on February 17, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented the prestigious Newcomb Cleveland Prize to five researchers representing the teams that completed the sequence of the fruit fly. Gerald Rubin and Susan Celniker accepted the prize on behalf of the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project (BDGP), and J. Craig Venter, Gene Myers, and Mark Adams represented Celera Genomics. BDGP is a partnership among Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the University of California, Berkeley; and Baylor College of Medicine.

The 2000 prize, which recognized an outstanding paper published in Science between June 1, 1991, and May 31, 2000, was awarded for "The Genome Sequence of Drosophila melanogaster." The paper is a series of articles jointly authored by hundreds of scientists, technicians, and students from 20 public and private institutions in 5 countries.

Celera and BDGP began a collaboration in 1998 to determine whether the whole-genome shotgun- sequencing method pioneered by Venter could be used on organisms having many thousands of genes encoded in millions of DNA base pairs. The technique, previously tested successfully in much smaller bacterial genomes, proved in the larger fruit fly genome to be faster and more efficient than traditional methods