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 IU Trident Indiana University

IU’s IT Resources Help Uncover New Complexity in Fruit Fly

PIs: Peter Cherbas and Thom Kaufman

National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS),UITS Research Technologies, research made possible by Mason and Data Capacitor 2

High Performance File Systems, UITS Research Technologies

High Performance Systems, UITS Research Technologies 

Fruit Fly Image

Figure 1. An image of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Indiana University scientists are part of a consortium that has described the transcriptome (complete collection of RNAs produced by a genome) of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster in unprecedented detail, identifying thousands of new genes, transcripts, and proteins. The project, conducted by a consortium of over 40 researchers, discovered 1,468 new genes. IU’s National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) provided bioinformatic software installation and support, and access to the Mason large RAM cluster, which is needed for de novo sequence assembly. IU’s High Performance File System (HPFS) group provided the file systems used to store sequence data. The High Performance Systems group (HPS) supports operation of the Mason cluster.

The genome is the collection of all the genes and other genetic material within an organism. This project shows that the fruit fly genome is far more complex than previously suspected and suggests that the same will be true of the genomes of other higher organisms.

Understanding the complexity of the genetics of higher organisms such as humans, our crop plants, animals, and the other organisms that we share our world with, is one of the key issues facing science at this time. This study showed how much we still have to learn about one of the organisms we thought we knew very well. 


The National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS) provides bioinformatics expertise, hardened and optimized software applications, and access to large memory systems to support genome science both locally and nationally.

The High Performance Systems (HPS) group implements, operates, and supports some of the fastest supercomputers in the world – IU’s Big Red II, the Quarry cluster, and the large memory Mason system – in order to advance Indiana University's mission in research, training, and engagement in the state.

The High Performance File System group provides high-speed, disk-based storage of data for IU researchers.

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Genetics 610 - Genome Sciences/Genomics

Secondary Field: Computer Science 401 - Computer Systems Analysis