This award provides continued support for the Tucson Drosophila Species Stock Center, a publicly-supported collection of living stocks of Drosophila species which moved to the University of Arizona in 2000. The collection consists of over 1000 strains representing approximately 250 species of the small insect commonly referred to as the fruit fly. On request, the Stock Center provides sample of live flies to researchers and educators at a modest charge that defrays only a portion of the cost of operation. In the four years since the Tucson Stock Center opened, the number of strains provided annually has increased by about 50%; continued growth in usage is projected as the number of drosophila species whose genome sequence has been determined increases. Areas of expected growth in the Stock Center's collection include expanded species representation, addition of newly collected wild type stocks for species already represented in the collection and addition of genetically marked strains for those species whose genomes have been sequenced. Availability of these sequences is expected to stimulate comparative genomics studies and thus the demand for samples of the collection. In addition to its role in enabling research, the Stock Center provides samples for educational uses in high schools, colleges and museums. The Stock Center also conducts an annual workshop for students and researchers who wish to learn more about the varied species in the collection and to acquire the special knowledge needed to work with them.
The Drosophila Species stock center has maintained living collections of over 250 different species of this important model organism. Living stocks have been made available to researchers world-wide for investigations in the fields of ecology, development, genomics, neuroscience, behavior, cell biology, stress resistance, and adaptation. Over the period of the award thousands of living cultures have been supplied to researchers and teachers and hundreds of publications, based upon work with our flies, have appeared in important scientific journals. During the five year period of the award, the Stock Center participated in the curation of species whose genomes had been completely sequenced and assembled. We also acquired a number of transgenic strains that have allowed the research community to conduct experiments previously possible only with Drosophila melanogaster. Demand from Stock Cetner users for all of these new stocks has been growing. The broader impacts of this award include the training of many graduate students and postdocs in the laboratories that ordered and used stocks in their research, and much of this training involved international collaboration. Every October, the Stock Center offered a four day workshop covering how to identify, rear and use the stocks in the laboratory and for teaching, and over a hundred participants attended these workshops from all over the world. Finally, a number of the stock keepers we employed were minority students and through their hands-on participation in culturing living organisms, they learned about genetics and insect biology at a level not available to most college students.