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Model Organisms such as yeast, worm, fly, fish, and mouse are key drivers of biological research, providing manipulable and cost-effective experimental systems that continuously yield fundamental insights into human biology and health. These discoveries rely on the accumulated wealth of genetic, genomic and cellular knowledge for each organism, which is made accessible via the Model Organism Databases (MODs). Foundational and consistent funding of the MODs by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) enables tens of thousands of researchers throughout the United States, as well as from the international community, to uncover basic, conserved biological mechanisms relevant to new medical therapies. These discoveries have been recognized by many Nobel Prizes over the last two decades alone.

NHGRI/NIH has recently advanced a plan in which the MODs will be integrated into a single combined database, along with a 30% reduction in funding for each MOD (see also these Nature and Science news stories). While increased integration will present many advantages, the plan will result in a loss of critical organism-specific datasets. The funding cut will also cripple core functions such as high quality literature curation and genome annotation, degrading the utility of the MODs. Given the large number of scientists that this policy change would affect and the importance of their work, this is a matter of extreme concern.

Leaders of several Model Organism communities, working with the Genetics Society of America (GSA), have come together to write a Statement of Support for the MODs, and to urge NIH to revise its proposal. We ask all scientists who value the community-specific nature of the MODs to sign this ‘open letter’, whose full text is on the linked page. Your name will be added to those of the Charter Signatories listed below. The letter, along with all signatures, will be presented to NIH Director Francis Collins at a GSA-organized meeting on July 14th 2016 during The Allied Genetics Conference in Orlando. We urge you to add your name, and to spread the word to all researchers who value the MODs.


Read and sign the Statement of Support

Read the letter (Closed) »

Total Signatures: 11078


Recent Signatures

  • Mel Feany
  • Christina James-Zorn
  • Patrick Tschopp
  • Marlize Ferreira Cravo
  • Puneet Sharma

Supporting Organizations

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  • GSA Logo

Charter Signatories

Model Organism Community Leaders
David Bilder, President, FlyBoard
Andrew Chisholm, President, WormBoard
Teresa Gunn, President, International Mammalian Genetics Society
Mary Mullins, Vice-President, International Zebrafish Society
Scientific Society Leaders
Kristin Baetz, President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, Director Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, uOttawa
Lynn Cooley, Vice-President, Genetics Society of America
Stan Fields, President, Genetics Society of America
Robb Krumlauf, President, Society for Developmental Biology
Peter Walter, President, American Society of Cell Biology
Nobel Laureates
Bruce A. Beutler
Mario Capecchi
Martin Chalfie
Andrew Z. Fire
Lee Hartwell
Carol Greider
H. Robert Horvitz
Paul M. Nurse
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
John Sulston
Jack W. Szostak
Eric F. Wieschaus
National Academy Members and Others
Victor Ambros
Angelika Amon
Kathryn V. Anderson
Arthur L. Beaudet
Sue Biggins
Jef D. Boeke
Nancy Bonini
David Botstein
Sydney Brenner
John Carlson
Thomas Cline
Igor Dawid
Joe DeRisi
Scott Emr
Gerry Fink
Scott Fraser
Minx Fuller
Joe Gall
Barry Ganetzky
Iva Greenwald
Dan Gottschling
James E. Haber
Richard Harland
Steve Henikoff
Alan Hinnebusch
Phil Hieter
Maria Jasin
Sandy Johnson
Thom Kaufman
National Academy Members and Others  
Judith Kimble
Chuck Kimmel
David M. Kingsley
Mark Krasnow
Mitzi Kuroda
Ruth Lehmann
Edison T. Liu
Barbara J. Meyer
Andrew W. Murray
Roel Nusse
Terry Orr-Weaver
Norbert Perrimon
Tom Petes
Jasper Rine
Janet Rossant
Rodney Rothstein
Gerry Rubin
Gary Ruvkun
Trudi Schüpbach
Geraldine Seydoux
Alan Spradling
Kevin Struhl
Joseph S. Takahashi
Masatoshi Takeichi
Jeremy Thorner
Fred Winston
James E. Womack
Leonard Zon