Project to Support Urodele Researchers

Voss Lab srvoss at
Fri Sep 22 18:22:58 EST 2000

Hi all,

We would greatly appreciate it if all members of the urodele research
community would take a second and write a letter in support of a project
that proposes to develop genome resources for axolotl and tiger salamander. 
 The overall objective is to develop resources that will extend urodeles as
a research model.  A summary of the project follows:

"Urodele amphibians (salamanders) are important model organisms in several
areas of human health and disease research, including limb regeneration,
neural transmission, vision, renal function, embryogenesis, heart
development, and olfaction.  The utility of salamanders would be greatly
extended if fundamental genome resources were developed and made available
to NIH researchers.  In response to PA-93-109 (Development of High
Connectivity Nonmammalian Models), the objective of the proposed research is
to construct a comprehensive genome map using an existing interspecific
mapping cross between two classical urodele models: axolotl (A. mexicanum)
and tiger salamander (A. tigrinum tigrinum).  The axolotl continues to be a
versatile model in biomedical research, with much interest in exploiting its
ability to regenerate multiple tissue types as adults.  Although less known,
the tiger salamander is an important model in vision research.  To make a
contribution to these focal research areas, the proposed project will
characterize and determine the genomic position of expressed sequences
(ESTs) from existing cDNA libraries of axolotl regenerating limb and tiger
salamander retina.  Also,  to make a more general contribution to salamander
researchers, loci that correspond to previously published salamander
sequences in Genbank will be mapped.  Information from the proposed project
will be displayed on an internet accessible website that will include a
searchable database of primers and PCR conditions, mapped ESTs, graphical
representations of salamander linkage groups, and graphical representation
of conserved chromosomal segments between salamander and other model
vertebrates.  The identification of ESTs and development of a comparative
gene map will be an important resource over the short term because it will
allow: (1)  gene homologies to be determined between salamander and human,
(2) candidate gene studies of existing axolotl mutants, (3) quantitative
trait locus analysis of complex phenotypes, and (4)  reconstruction of
vertebrate genome evolution.  With respect to longer term goals, the
proposed project will spur development of additional resources that will
facilitate identification of salamander genes of biomedical significance."

The decision to fund this project will rest partially on the enthusiasm of
the urodele community.  I know I have bugged and received a letter from many
of you (thanks!), but for those of you that I have not yet tortured, please
take the time to support this initiative.  We are very close to getting this
funded; the support of additional urodele researchers may very well make the

I apologize for the short notice, but because this proposal will be
submitted some time next week (by Sept. 28), please fax letters asap.  If I
can provide further information, please do not hesitate to ask.   

Thanks, Randal      

Randal Voss
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523

970-491-4869 office tel
970-416-7661 home tel
970-491-0649 fax
srvoss at


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