2004 NATIONAL DROSOPHILA BOARD MEETING

 

March 24, 2004, Washington DC

Maryland C, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2 – 6 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Report

INTRODUCTION & APPROVAL OF THE 2003 MINUTES

2:00 – 2:10

1

MEETING ORGANIZATION

2:10 – 2:40

 

2004 PROGRAM COMMITTEE

   (Paul Lasko, Howard Lipshitz)

10’

2

2004 PROGRAM COMMITTEE   (Kavita Arora, Rahul Warrior, Frank Laski)

 

 

SANDLER LECTURESHIP COMMITTEE  (Ross Cagan)

5’

3

REPORT OF THE GSA MEETING COORDINATOR  (Marsha Ryan)

10’

4

   2004 MEETING SITE SUMMARY

 

 

   2007 MEETING SITE SELECTION

 

 

TREASURER’S REPORT

   (Rick Fehon)

2:40 – 2:50

10’

5

DROSOPHILA BOARD COMPOSITION

2:50 – 3:00

 

   ELECTION REPORT (Trudi Schüpbach)

 

6

   PROPOSAL ON PRESIDENT’S TERM  (Trudi Schüpbach)

10’

7

NOMENCLATURE COMMITTEE REPORTS 
   (Scott Hawley, Kevin Cook)

5’

8

COMMUNITY RESOURCE REPORTS & PROJECTS I

3:00 - 4:00

 

   BLOOMINGTON STOCK CENTER  (Kathy Matthews, Kevin Cook)

   REPORT OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE (Hugo Bellen)

10’

10’ 

9

10

  KYOTO STOCK CENTER (Yoshi Yamamoto)

10’

11

  P ELEMENT COLLECTION (Allan Spradling)

20’

12

  TUCSON STOCK CENTER  (Teri Markow)

 

 

  SPECIES SEQUENCING PROJECT (Markow, Clark, Langely, Gelbart))

10’

13

  DIS (Jim Thomson)

 

14

BREAK & SNACKS

4:00 – 4:15

 

SPECIAL GUEST  Judith Plesset (NSF)

4:15 – 4:45

15

COMMUNITY RESOURCE REPORTS & PROJECTS II

4:45—5:30

 

  NIH/NSF OUTREACH (Bill Gelbart/Ruth Lehmann)

20’

16

  FLYBASE (Bill Gelbart)

10’

17

  IMAGE AWARD (David Bilder)

5’

18

  GSA POSTER AND TALK AWARD (Lynn Cooley)

10’

19

 

5:30

 

 

 

 

 


2004 Drosophila Board Meeting Minutes

March 24, 2004, Washington D.C.  Marriott Wardman Hotel

 

Present: Kavita Aurora, Michael Ashburner, Hugo Bellen,  David Bilder, Amy Bejsovec, Ken Burtis, Ross Cagan, Kevin Cook, Lynn Cooley,  Claude Desplan, Rick Fehon, Bill Gelbart, Scott Hawley, Yash Hiromi, David Ish-Horovitz, Henry Krause,  Frank Laski, Chuck Langley, Ruth Lehmann,  Dennis McKearin, Brian Oliver, Susan Parkhurst,  Laurel Raftery, Marsha Ryan, Rob Saint, Trudi Schupbach, Allan Spradling, Jim Thompson, Barbara Wakimoto  and Toshi Yamamoto

 

1.  2003 BOARD MEETING SUMMARY

2003 Board Meeting Minutes were approved.  This report can be found on flybase.

 

2.  REPORT OF THE 2004 PROGRAM COMMITTEE (Howard Lipshitz and Paul Lasko)

Howard Lipshitz and Paul Lasko extended thanks to Marsha Ryan and GSA staff for their excellent support in organizing this year’s meeting.  They reported that everything went smoothly. They agreed with previous organizers that the workshop are still the most time consuming part since their success depends on the organization talents of the workshop chairs.  Their philosophy was to accept all proposed workshops and they had a record number of workshops.  Suggestions for next year include:  1) asking authors to provide full first names on their abstract submissions so the organizers can more easily monitor gender balance; 2)  we should continue to check on the availability of internet connections for people wanting to present database development.  Although we would like to offer this option, feasibility and costs will be site dependent.  The Board asked Marsha to check on a room for the next meeting in Houston set aside to be used just for computer presentations. It may be possible to buy a block of computer time rather than service throughout the entire conference to save money.  Another concern is the added costs for security for the computers.  Contributions for covering these expenses may come the presenters and it was suggested that at least some presenters may be willing to pay.  The question of whether to provide for this new service in Houston will have to be settled soon since Marsha needs a budget for the 2005 meeting by June.

 

Registration:  Pre-registration for the meeting continues to be strong, as detailed in the report from Marsha Ryan.  1540 people have registered for the meeting.  An additional ~100 participants are expected to register at the meeting itself.  The strong attendance continues even with the increased accommodation expenses and registration fees. 

Plenary Speakers:  Twelve plenary speakers were invited for the two plenary sessions on Thursday and Sunday morning.  Plenary speakers were chosen for their excellent science and for their ability to communicate in talks.  We made efforts to cover a broad range of current topic areas, to include investigators at different stages in their careers, and to achieve gender and geographical balance to the greatest extent possible: 4 junior and 8 senior; 7 male and 5 female; 8 from the US, 2 from the UK, 1 each from Canada and Israel.  At Bill Gelbart's suggestion, we took advantage of the fact that the conference is in Washington DC to invite Francis Collins to give a plenary talk on "Biology in the era of complete genomes".  Peter Lawrence was invited to be the keynote speaker for the opening night, and will speak on “Pattern formation: from flake to avalanche”.  An updated List of Plenary Speakers is appended to this report, which includes the year 2004 invited speakers.

Abstract Submission: Abstracts were solicited under thirteen areas of primary research interest (same as last year).  The list of 2004 topics is appended to the end of this report, including the number of abstracts submitted in each area.  In total, 982 requests were received for posters and platform talks (910 + 72 late).  This compares with 1016 in 2003, 1003 in 2002 and 966 in 2001.  There were 361 requests for platform presentations for 153 available slots, allowing accommodation of 42% of the requests (12% more than last year).

The choice of session topics worked well, although there is definitely a higher chance of being chosen for a platform presentation in some areas relative to others (see Table II below).  This is because of the constraints placed on the number of talks per session, which vary from 14 to 7.  The number of speakers for each sub-topic was roughly in proportion to the number of abstracts requesting platform talks in each sub-field, insofar as possible without combining different topical areas into a single platform session.  The most popular submission topics were Regulation of Gene Expression and Signal Transduction, followed by Neurogenetics/Neural Development, Neural Physiology/Behavior, Pattern Formation, and Cytoskeleton/Cellular Biology.

Posters:  We maintained, as much as feasible, the policy of the 2003 organizers in having a great deal of time devoted to poster sessions (15 hours in 2004 versus 17 hours in 2003). As in 2003, we devoted a large percentage of the time early in the meeting to blocks of poster time with author attendance.

Slide Sessions:  Initial selection of abstracts for platform talks was carried out by the platform session chairs from among the pool of submissions requesting consideration.   The primary criteria were novelty and scientific interest.   As program chairs we then reviewed the selections and made minor alterations to the list of selected speakers in order, as much as possible, to avoid choosing multiple speakers from the same laboratory (in some rare cases, we felt that selections from the same group were appropriate if the topics covered were truly distinct).

Workshops:  A total of 14 workshops were organized: 12 during the conference and 2 on the Wednesday, before the conference officially begins. This is over twice the number of workshops scheduled for the 2003 conference but similar to the 2002 total (13).   Reasons for this fluctuation are not obvious (but see below).  The organizer of the 'ecdysone' workshop (acting on behalf the 2003 attendees) requested a return to the traditional format of an all-day workshop preceding the meeting, and we acceded to this request.  The 'GPCR signaling' workshop was also scheduled for all day Wednesday; however, it had to be held off-site because the workshop organizer had misunderstood the timing and logistical requirements. Responsibility for organizing the program and content of each workshop was delegated to the workshop organizers.  Input from the conference organizers was limited to scheduling and other logistical issues (e.g. insuring against redundant talks etc.).   Previous organizers felt that issues related to the workshops were “the most time-consuming and vexing problems …. encountered”.  The 2004 organizing committee experienced similar pressures.  The solution to these problems is not altogether clear: one solution to misunderstandings about scheduling would be to notify workshop chairs at the outset of the approximate time and day on which the workshops will be held.  Tardiness on the part of some of the workshop organizers in sending details to the organizing committee remains a problem.

Previous organizers felt that “A choice needs to be made: are the workshops meant to be workshops (informal groups of people meeting to discuss relevant issues), or are they meant to be another form of platform session, with the topic suggested by the community?”  This organizing committee adopted a “hands-off” policy: all workshops suggested by the community were approved except where a particular topic would have been duplicated (in those cases, the first proposal was accepted). The atmosphere of each workshop will reflect the attitudes adopted by the individual workshop organizers.   This year we made abstracts for each workshop mandatory; these are listed in the Program and Abstracts book.  Lists of speakers were not mandatory for the workshop sessions; only two chose to list speakers in the book.  It should be noted that, this year, there was no proposal for a 'techniques' workshop.  Future organizers may wish to ensure that there is a stand-alone workshop dedicated to techniques (i.e., by identifying an appropriate workshop organizer if none comes forward spontaneously).

Suggestion to consider a new presentation format:   For several abstracts, the content features novel databases, software-mining tools and other computer based material, etc.   These abstracts were submitted either for platform talks or posters yet neither format seems entirely satisfactory in light of the uniquely interactive nature of the material and the benefits from “hands-on” exchange with the developers/presenters.   The 2003 organizers pointed out that, as needs to present web-based content will certainly increase in future meetings, the board should consider a new presentation option for future meetings.  This could be an elected format option chosen by presenters - in addition to the standard platform talks and posters - and could modeled after the computer station format developed by the presenters of Flybase.  Important considerations, beyond the obvious logistics of adding computer-based presentations, include the high cost of providing additional lines for Internet access.  The costs are very high (for 2004, Flybase, for instance, will pay for 4 STSN High Speed Internet Connections for 4 days @ $750/day for the first connection plus $125 flat for each additional connection, for a total of $3,375).  An additional problem is scheduling of such presentations given the already over-loaded conference program.  We agree that this is an issue that the board and future organizers need to consider.  However, for the reasons listed above, we did not attempt to implement this suggestion in 2004.

Policies regarding registration, travel and accommodation expenses:  In general, the policies followed were similar to those for the 2003 meeting.  With board approval, travel expenses were covered for the 'historical' speaker and all overseas plenary speakers (1+3 persons).  Complimentary hotel rooms were reserved -- as traditionally -- for GSA personnel, the meeting organizers, and foreign scientists who indicated critical fund shortages. Registration fees were waived for participants who made such a request on the basis of serious financial need.  While there are many deserving domestic scientists, the critical nature of fund shortages presented by foreign colleagues and the limited supply of complimentary rooms made it difficult to justify extending this courtesy to scientists from historically affluent countries.

Contrary to the 2003 organizers, we have received no reports of visa difficulties that have resulted in delays or cancellation by foreign registrants.  This may be due in part to the posting of information on the conference website from the outset.

Interactions with the GSA office:  Interactions with the GSA office and staff were excellent again this year. Although the organizers are new each year, the GSA is now very experienced with respect to this meeting, and most issues were dealt with efficiently and expediently. Marsha Ryan in particular is outstanding at ensuring that the organizers do the right thing at the right time.  Thank you Marsha!!  The 2004 organizers met with the 2003 organizers in Chicago to discuss planning of the conference; similarly, we will meet with the 2005 organizers in Washington to provide advice and information.  We also periodically contacted the 2003 organizers for advice during the planning process, and will be available in a similar capacity to the 2005 organizers.

AV/Computer-based presentations:  As computer-based presentations are now the dominant media for talks, a professional AV contractor was hired to handle the IT demands of the meeting, as was done very successfully in 2003. Certain frustrating issues arose in this regard, and were dealt with efficiently and successfully by Marsha Ryan.  These issues, the high cost of AV services as well as other issues regarding the Washington DC meeting site are considered in Marsha's report and deserve significant discussion by the board.

 In summary, everything went fairly smoothly this year and attendance continues to be stable or even to increase.  We look forward to an enjoyable meeting.

 

Acknowledgements:  This report used the report of the 2003 organizing committee as a template, and includes text from that report.


I. Updated Plenary Speaker list

 


Susan Abmayr                          1995

Kathryn Anderson                  1999

Deborah Andrew                    1997

Chip Aquadro                           1994

Spyros Artavanis                     1994

Bruce Baker                              1996

Bruce S. Baker                         2002

Utpal Banerjee                         1997

Konrad Basler                          2003

Amy Bejsovec                          2000

Phil Beachy                               1998

Hugo Bellen                              1997

Celeste Berg                              1994

Marianne Bienz                       1996

Ethan Bier                                  2002

Seth Blair                                    1997

Grace Boekhoff-Falk             2003

Nancy Bonini                           2000

Juan Botas                                  1999

Andrea Brand                           2001

Vivian Budnik                          2000

Ross Cagan                                1998

John Carlson                             1999

John Carlson                             2002

Sean Carroll                               1995

Andrew G. Clark                     2002

Tom Cline                                   2000

Francis Collins                       2004

Claire Cronmiller                    1995

Ilan Davis                                    2001

Rob Denell                                 1999

Michael Dickinson                 1995

Chris Doe                                   1996

Ian Duncan                                2001

Bruce Edgar                              1997

Anne Ephrussi                          2001

Mel B. Feany                            2002

Martin Feder                              1998

Janice Fischer                           1998

Matthew Freeman            2004

Minx Fuller                             2003

Elizabeth R. Gavis               2002

Bill Gelbart                             1994

Pam Geyer                              1996

Richard Gibbs                       2003

David Glover                          2000

Kent Golic                               2001

Iswar Hariharan                    2003

Dan Hartl                                 2001

Scott Hawley                          2001

Tom Hayes                              1995

Ulrike Heberlein                   1996

Ulrike Heberlein                   1998

Martin Heisenberb               1998

David Hogness                      1999

Joan Hooper                           1995

Wayne Johnson                    2000

Timothy Karr                         2003

Thom Kaufman                     2001

Rebecca Kellum                   1999

Christian Klambt                  1998

Thomas B. Kornberg          2002

Mark Krasnow                   2004

Henry Krause                      2004

Ed Kravitz                             2004

Mitzi Kuroda                          2003

Paul Lasko                              1999

Cathy Laurie                          1997

Ruth Lehmann                      2002

Maria Leptin                           1994

Mike Levine                           2003

Bob Levis                                1997

Haifan Lin                               1995

Susan Lindquist                    2000

John Lis                                    2001

Liqun Luo                               2003

J. Lawrence Marsh          2004

Erika Matunis                     2004

Dennis McKearin                1996

Mike McKeown                   1996

Jon Minden                             1999

Denise Montell                      2002

Roel Nusse                              1997

David O’Brochta                    1997

Terry L. Orr-Weaver                 2002

Linda Partridge                       2004

Mark Peifer                                   1997

Trudy MacKay                            2000

Nipam Patel                                  2000

Norbert Perrimon                       1999

Leslie Pick                                     1994

M. Ramaswami                           2001

Robert Rawson                           2003

Pernille Rorth                               1995

Gerry Rubin                                 1998

Gerry Rubin                                 2001

Hannele Ruohola-Baker         1999

Helen Salz                                     1994

Babis Savakis                               1995

Paul Schedl                                   1998

Gerold Schubiger                       1996

Trudi Schüpbach                    2004

Matthew P. Scott                        2002

John Sedat                                     2000

Amita Sehgal                               2003

Allen Shearn                                1994

Marla Sokolowski                      1998

Ruth Steward                               1996

Tin Tin Su                                      2002

Bill Sullivan                                  1996

John Sved                                      1997

John Tamkun                               2000

Barbara Taylor                            1996

Bill Theurkauf                              1994

William Theurkauf                     2002

Tim Tully                                       1995

Talila Volk                                   2004

Barbara Wakimoto                    2001

Steve Wasserman                       1996

Kristi Wharton                             1994

Kevin P. White                          2004

Kristin White                             2004

Eric Wieschaus                           1996

Ting Wu                                         1997

Tian Xu                                           1997

Philip Zamore                              2003

Susan Zusman                             1998



 

 


II.                    Number of applicants and speakers in different topical areas

 

Session Title

# abstracts (excl. late)

# requesting talk

# selected for talk

1

Meiosis, Mitosis, and Cell Division

61

21

8

2

Cytoskeleton and Cellular Biology

78

32

14

3

Genome and Chromosome Structure

66

22

8

4

Regulation of Gene Expression

101

31

14

5

Signal Transduction

98

49

21

6

Pattern Formation

81

35

14

7

Gametogenesis and Sex Determination

72

24

14

8

Organogenesis

46

20

8

9

Neurogenetics and Neural Development

81

32

14

10

Neural Physiology and Behavior

80

33

14

11

Evolution and Quantitative Genetics

63

25

8

12

Immune System and Cell Death

42

19

7

113

Techniques and Genomics

41

18

8

 

 

 

3. REPORT OF THE SANDLER COMMITTEE (Ross Cagan)

 

2004 Committee members:

Ross Cagan, Washington University (Chair)

Amanda Simcox, Ohio State (2003 Chair)

Susan Abmayr, Stowers Institute

Tom Clandinin, Stanford

 

Mechanism of Committee Selection: The current year’s chair selects next

year’s chair (during summer), and also stays on for one year for

“continuity”.  The chair selects the other members; a list of recent

members is pasted at the end of this document.  You need to have the

committee chosen by early Fall.  Membership numbers have varied; we had no

problem with a committee size of four.  One should pay attention to

gender, geographic region and perhaps specialty / area of expertise.

 

Key Contact at GSA: Marsha Ryan mryan@genetics.faseb.org

Please contact Marsha as early as possible with the name and address of

the chairperson so the information is included in the Fly Meeting

Announcements.  The deadline for nomination should be given careful

consideration, given the fluctuation in Fly Meeting dates.

 

Selling points for committee work: Not much work; really fun to read what

is going on in fly field; an excuse to chat with other fly people;

responsibility to the meeting, which is FOR the students and postdocs,

really. Most faculty members I approached agreed without any question.  In

past years faculty have been “let off the hook” for good reasons (grant

due Feb / March 1, but were asked to give two names as suggested committee

members.

 

Operation of Committee: Because there were no major disagreements during

both phases of the selection process (see below), the committee was able

to correspond by email with no conference calls necessary.

 

Initial Nomination / Application: (thesis abstract, student's CV, Letter

of support from Advisor):

Nominations arrived by mail throughout December and a total of 8 were

received. This is somewat less than the previous year (12). I do think

given the number of spectacular theses that were not submitted that, e.g.,

an email notice would improve submissions.  Some applications arrived as

email attachments, others as hard copies through the mail.  I mailed

copies of the nomination materials to committee members in January and

sent them to the committee members.

 

I acknowledged receipt of all applications. I strongly recommend the

process be by email only; Word or PDF files would be appropriate, much as

most journals now prefer.  This is more convenient in terms of forwarding

quickly (and cheaply) to committee members and would avoid the worry that

an application was lost in the mail somewhere.

 

Nominee         Advisor

Richard Benton          St. Johnston

Jennifer Dorman         Berg

Marie Gottar            Ferrandon

Elizabeth Grevengoed    Peifer

Sean McGuire            Davis

Mala Murphy             Schwartz

Grazia Raffa            Gatti

Carlos Ribeiro          Affolter

Patrick Versticken      Bellen

 

 

Initial round of selection:

Each member of the committee ranked the applicants using 1-5 to identify

their top four candidates based on the quality and impact of the research

and the independence of the applicant.  Four of the eight applicants—

Benton, Gottar, McGuire, and Verstricken— were clearly identified as the

top candidates.  They were asked to send copies of their completed thesis

(figures and text), on CD ROMs, posted electronically, or as PDF

attachments, which I mailed or emailed to the committee.  All committee

members were happy to read the theses electronically.

 

Final round of selection:

Each member of the committee read the theses and ranked the three

finalists.  The standard was very high but Sean McGuire was the winner.

One issue that arose was whether it was worth determining a third-vs.-

fourth (Benton vs. Gottar), as they were ranked identically yet

potentially our ranking determined the amount of financial help provided

to both. One suggestion was to stick with just a winner and runner-up, and

pay for the entire registration-plus-hotel for those two. I am mixed on

this suggestion.

 

The Award:

Opening talk of the Drosophila Research Conference April, 2003.

Chairperson introduces speaker; summarizes why the award exists, perhaps

briefly mentions some things about the selection process.  Steve DiNardo,

gave me his PowerPoint slides from last year to form a base for the

introduction.  Steve also advised me to read Dan Lindsley’s “Perspectives”

about Larry Sandler (Genetics 151, 1233-1237) as people serving on the

committee are not necessarily directly connected to Larry.

 

1.  Sandler Award Plaque (see entry on "Plaque", below)

3.  Lifetime membership in the GSA (Arranged wholly by Marsha)

4.  All expenses to attend the meeting (Arranged wholly by Marsha).

5.  Runners up.  This year the GSA also offered to pay for the three

runners up to travel to the meeting and covered their registration.  Their

hotel costs were not covered. At least one runners-up will be attending.

 

Plaque:  Once I knew the winner, I emailed the full name, award date, and

Marsha's email to Brinks Trophy.  The company contacted me to confirm

details and shipping address.I received the plaque in plenty of time.

 

The history: Lynn Cooley (2001) arranged for 10 plaques to be made by

Brinks Trophy Shoppe in Santa Cruz, CA (831-426-2505;

staff@brinkstrophies.com).  Bill Sullivan laid the groundwork for this in

2000. Marsha Ryan paid for the plaques and the silk-screening of the name

/ date of the winner $690.00 total), and she has all the information on

how to contact them.  The selection committee chairperson simply needs to

contact Brinks Trophy so that the name of the winner and the date of the

award can be silk-screened on one of the plaques. The only additional cost

will be shipping of the completed plaque to the committee chair; sent by

UPS ground, which Marsha is billed for.

 

Outstanding expenses:  I do not know.

 

Previous Committee Members: This is the list of past committee members to

help future chairs select new people for the task.

 

2000 Committee:

Amy Bejsovec

Tom Cline

Joe Duffy

Chris Field

Janice Fischer

Scott Hawley

Bill Saxton (Chair)

Bill Sullivan (1999 Chair)

 

2001 Committee:

Laurel Raftery

Haig Keshishian

Susan Parkhurst

Bill Saxton (2000 Chair)

Lynn Cooley (Chair)

 

2002 Committee:

Steve DiNardo, UPenn (Chair)

Lynn Cooley, Yale Med (2001 Chair)

Chip Ferguson, U Chicago

Helen Salz, Case Western

 

2003 Committee:

Amanda Simcox, Ohio State (Chair)

Steve DiNardo, UPenn (2002 Chair)

Celeste Berg, University of Washington

Jin Jiang, UT Southwestern

 

2004 Committee:

Ross Cagan, Washington University (Chair)

Amanda Simcox, Ohio State (2003 Chair)

Susan Abmayr, Stowers Institute

Tom Clandinin, Stanford

 

 

 

4. REPORT OF THE GSA MEETING COORDINATOR (Marsha Ryan)

 

45th ANNUAL DROSOPHILA RESEARCH CONFERENCE

 

Registration:

Total registrations for 2004 as of the advance cutoff date of 3/8/04, totaled 1540. Though the number of individuals registered is very close to the number in 2003, total registration income will be greater than in 2003 because the registration fees were raised by $10 in every registration category. However, registration income at this point is about $16,000 below the total projected registration income of $299,270. The number of individuals registering as GSA members, paying the lower member rate, appears to be about the same as last year (928 in 2004 and 953 in 2003). It is possible that on-site registrations may bring in enough additional income to make up the shortfall in the actual registration income.

 

Hotel Rates and Pick-up:

Hotel room rates for singles and doubles in 2004 ($217 single or double) were noticeably higher than in 2003 ($180 single or double). Pick-up this year reflects the fact that the group continues to be very rate sensitive since peak night room pick-up was approximately 703rooms compared to last year’s 748. Note that though the Marriott Wardman Park was approached to hold the 2007 Drosophila Conference in tandem with lowering the 2004 room rates to be more inline with the current economy, they would not present any offers for lowring the 2004 rate until after a contract for 2007 was signed. In spite of the single/double rate of $217, room pick-up has exceeded the block, which was smaller than the previous years because it was known that rates would be higher. This strategy has been quite successful with pick-up exceeding the block every year since 1997.

 

Exhibitors:

Twenty-five exhibit spaces were sold this year—2 more than in 2003. Represented are 17 commercial companies and 2 not-for-profit organizations.

 

Donors:

There was one exhibitor donation this year of $1000 from Genetic Services, Inc.

 

Advertisers: Two exhibitors each purchased a full page ad in the Program book.

 

2005 - 46TH ANNUAL DROSOPHILA CONFERENCE – March 30-April 3 – Town and Country Resort & Conference Center

Room rates are set at $150-$170 single or double, depending upon the room location. Meeting, poster and ancillary space will be the same as in 2002, which was quite adequate. A preliminary budget will be presented for the Board’s approval by the end of June 2004, after all the final bills to 2004 vendors have been received and paid and prices have been confirmed by 2005 vendors.

 

2006 - 47th ANNUAL DROSOPHILA CONFERENCE – March 29-April 2 – The Hilton Americas, Houston

The Hilton Americas was chosen for 2006 over the Sheraton Chicago, for a number of reasons, but primarily due to room rate—which is already set at $149 single or double—and the quality of meeting and poster space. The Hilton is located in downtown Houston next to the George Brown Convention Center.  Shuttle service at a minimal cost, runs between the hotel and Old Houston where shopping and a wide variety of restaurants are located—just minutes away. Eateries are also located within 1-3 blocks walk from the hotel.

 

2007 – 48th ANNUAL DROSOPHILA CONFERENCE – March 7-11 – Philadelphila Marriott

A comparison among the east coast cities of Washington, DC, Boston, MA and Philadelphila, PA, convinced the FlyBoard to host the 2007 conference in Philadelphia at the downtown Marriottt, located in the city’s center. Room rates, meeting space, vendor costs all were significantly more economical in Philadelphia. By contract, room rates will not exceed $185 single and $195 double. Meeting and poster space is more than adequate and match or exceed the quality of the Marriott Wardman Park’s space. Immediately adjacent to the Marriott are the famous Reading Market Terminal, historic city landmarks, including Independence Hall, as well as countless restaurants—all in easy walking distance.

 

2008 – 49th ANNUAL DROSOPHILA CONFERENCE

The 2008 conference will be the western rotation. Currently the Town and Country is holding dates for this meeting of April 2-6. They are quite anxious to have the contract signed and have asked that a contract be reviewed and signed within this quarter.



2004 REGISTRATION STATISTICS – GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION


 


US Registrations

State

 

Count

Alabama

=

11

Arkansas

=

2

Arizona

=

8

California

=

155

Colorado

=

10

Connecticut

=

39

District of Columbia

=

4

Delaware

=

2

Florida

=

8

Georgia

=

12

Hawaii

=

3

Iowa

=

11

Idaho

=

2

Illinois

=

30

Indiana

=

21

Kansas

=

19

Kentucky

=

6

Louisiana

=

1

Massachusetts

=

106

Maryland

=

149

Maine

=

1

Michigan

=

12

Minnesota

=

9

Missouri

=

33

North Carolina

=

70

New Hampshire

=

10

New Jersey

=

63

Nevada

=

2

New York

=

119

Ohio

=

29

Oklahoma

=

4

Oregon

=

5

Pennsylvania

=

53

Rhode Island

=

11

South Carolina

=

3

Tennessee

=

12

Texas

=

71

Utah

=

20

Virginia

=

24

Vermont

=

2

Washington

=

26

Wisconsin

=

8

West Virginia

=

3

 

 

 

Total

=

1,189

 

US registrants = 77.2%

 

 

Foreign Registrations

Country

 

Count

ARGENTINA

=

2

AUSTRIA

=

2

AUSTRALIA

=

6

BELGIUM

=

3

CANADA

=

68

SWITZERLAND

=

14

CHINA

=

2

COLOMBIA

=

1

GERMANY

=

45

DENMARK

=

1

SPAIN

=

20

FRANCE

=

35

UNITED KINGDOM

=

57

GRENADA

=

1

GREECE

=

1

HUNGARY

=

2

ISRAEL

=

8

INDIA

=

6

ITALY

=

5

JAPAN

=

33

KOREA

=

4

MEXICO

=

5

NETHERLANDS

=

4

NORWAY

=

1

PORTUGAL

=

3

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

=

6

SWEDEN

=

5

SLOVAKIA

=

1

TAIWAN

=

10

 

 

 

Total

=

351

 

Foreign registrants = 22.7%


REGISTRATIONS – COUNT AND INCOME

3/8/04

 

 

Number

Account

Amount

Members

602

44101

$114,380.00

NonMembers

279

44102

$86,490.00

Student Members

290

44103

$23,200.00

Student Nonmembers

284

44104

$41,180.00

Complimentary

15

44109

0

Subtotal Advance-Early

1,470

 

$265,250.00

Members

30

44105

$7,200.00

NonMembers

19

44106

$7,030.00

Student Members

6

44107

$960.00

Student Nonmembers

15

44108

$2,850.00

Complimentary

0

44109

$0.00

Advance-Late

70

 

$18,040.00

 Total

1,540

 

$283,290.00

 

 

 

 

5. REPORT OF THE TREASURER (Rick Fehon)

 

Rick Fehon reminded the Board that we increased registration $10 across all categories this year.  This was a needed increase.  He estimates that we will be in the red $20K, probably less, at the end of this meeting.  This will put us slightly under our cap for the reserve but overall, we are in good shape given that we are now absorbing the high costs of computer A/V service which began last year and because we expect San Diego to be a money saver.   There is concern that the Sandler Fund is being depleted since the Board decided to charge A/V costs for the Sandler lectureship to the fund. Because the A/V expense exceeds the profit the fund is making by $1K-2K, Rick recommended that we reverse the earlier decision.  The Board approved his recommendation.  The Sandler Fund will pay out only what it earns each year and the excess costs be covered by the general meeting fund.  There was a brief discussion that we might further increase the Sandler Fund by adding a line to request donations on the meeting registration forms.

 

 

A.  ANNUAL DROSOPHILA CONFERENCE INCOME/EXPENSE

(Data are from the GSA [Marsha Ryan], 5/16/03 and 2/21/03)

 

                                                                                                                                            Estimated                          Projections

                                                                                                                                                      2003[1]                                        2004

Revenue

Registration                                                                                                                       283,270                              $299,270[2]

Exhibit Fees                                                                                                                         22,600                                     24,400

Mailing Fees & Program Book Sales                                                                         1,855                                        4,335

Advertising                                                                                                                               1000                                        1,500

Donations                                                                                                                                 2,500                                       1,000

Miscellaneous (Flybase expense payment, Reg Cancells)                               4,419                                        2,000

 

TOTAL REVENUE                                                                                                                                                    $315,644                                                                                                                                                                                                  $332,505

 

Expenditures

Fixed Expenses:

Hotel and Travel-Staff                                                                                                         1855                                    $ 1,590

Plenary and Historical Speaker Travel                                                                        1425                                        3,155

Sandler Runners-Up (airfare)                                                                                                                                             1,500

Printing/Web Site (Call, Program Book)                                                                32,039                                     34,000

Computer Services (Web site)                                                                                           920                                        2,000

Mailing, Addressing, Shipping, Freight                                                                  13,260                                     12,000

Duplicating/Copying                                                                                                              123                                            150

Telephone - FlyBase room computer lines                                                              5,510                                        5,800

Telephone & Fax - Other                                                                                                     937                                        1,000

Office Supplies (badges, signs, misc.)                                                                          3995                                        4,000

Sound & Sound techs (hotel charges)                                                                                                                            6,000

Projection & Sound                                                                                                          60,550                                     67,500

Exhibit/poster hall rent/cleaning                                                                                    5,000                                        1,000

Masking, poster boards, tables, chairs                                                                      22,885                                     23,000

Poster Hall Carpeting                                                                                                         7,300                                        6,000

Exhibits                                                                                                                                     4,451                                        4,500

Contracted Services (Registration, security)                                                            5,881                                        6,600

Miscellaneous                                                                                                                               75                                            100

Subtotal Fixed Expenses:                                                                                     $166,205                                $179,895

 

Variable Expenses:

Salaries/Wages/taxes/benefits                                                                                      63,062                                  $65,000

Catering: (Based on 1600 registrants)

              Coffee/Soda Breaks/FlyBoard                                                                       38,695                                     50,545

              Catering - Reception                                                                                          40,306                                     44,980

              Catering - Fly Base                                                                                                2,706                                        1,856

              Catering - 1 Continental Breakfast                                                              21,899                                                   

Catering subtotal                                                                                                             103,606                                     97,381

 

Credit Card Expense                                                                                                          8,862                                        9,500

Miscellaneous                                                                                                                            407                                            500

Sub-total Variable Expenses:                                                                             $175,937                                $172,381

 

TOTAL EXPENDITURES                                                                                 $342,141                                $352,276

 

NET REVENUE (EXPENSE)                                                                       ($26,498[3])                                ($19,771)

 

 

[1] These numbers are based on estimates from M. Ryan from 5/16/03.

2 Assumes 1600 total registrants. Currently (2/17/04), there are 1474 paid registrations with a total registration income of  $270,160. Although overall attendance looks similar to last year, projected income is up ~$16,000 due to the $10 increase in registration fees.

3 According to latest GSA Statement (3/18/04) this amount is actually $20,614.


B.  MEETING ATTENDANCE

 

Pre-registration 2004 (Wash DC)                                              1470                         $266,110

              Total registration 2004:                                              (1,600)                        $299,270

 

Pre-registration 2003 (Chicago):                                               1,488                         $256,130

              Total registration 2003:                                                1,603                          $283,270

 

Pre-registration 2002 (San Diego):                                          1,219                         $211,000

              Total registration 2002:                                                1,552                          $290,170

 

Pre-registration 2001 (Washington):                                       1,372                         $240,240

              Total registration 2001:                                                1,627                          $297,915

 

Pre-registration 2000 (Pittsburgh):                                           1,083                         $131,075

              Total registration 2000:                                                1,183                          $167,005

 

Pre-registration 1999 (Seattle):                                                  1,142                         $156,350

              Total registration 1999:                                                1,366                          $191,425

 

C.  ACCOUNT BALANCES

 

Drosophila Main Fund

 

 

Meeting

Year

Net Income

Fund

Balance*

# Meeting

Attendees

1993

$17,105

$ 25,146

1,165

1994

2,800

27,946

1,222

1995

8,417

36,363

1,103

1996

15,035

51,398

1,423

1997

31,663

83,061

1,382

1998

21,894

104,955

1,378

1999

(6,053)

98,530

1,366

2000

(56,060)

42,470

1,183

2001

71, 656

114,126

1,627

2002

         62,284

176,410

1,454

2003

($26,497[4])

$149,913

1,603

2003-04 NIH Project Expenses

($15,000)

$134,913

N/A

2004 (projected)

($19,271)

115,642

1600 (projected)

 

Drosophila Board reserve target is $150,000. The cap is $200,000.

Estimated reserve is $34,358 less than the target, and $84,358 less than the cap.

 

Sandler Lecture Fund

Year

Net Income

Balance

Excess to Reserve ($8,000)

 

1993

1417

25,964

17,964

 

1994

(451)

25,513

17,513

 

1995

1,595

27,108

19,108

 

1996

1,142

28,250

20,250

 

1997

1,119

29,369

21,369

 

1998

1,385

30,754

22,754

 

1999

877

31,631

23,631

 

 2000

257

31,888

23,888

 

 2001

(234)

31,654

23,654

 

2002

(846)

30,808

22,808

 

2003

(2431)

28,377

20,377

 

 

 

D.  SUMMARY AND REMARKS

This year it appears that again we will incur some losses due to the high costs of projection and catering in Washington DC. However, the loss will likely be smaller than currently projected, and with last minute registrations we could break even. Although overall attendance appears roughly equal to last year, our income was increased by the $10 increase in registration fees, and we were able to bring catering costs below last year’s level by omitting a breakfast. Overall, we appear to have a stable 3-year cycle in which we lose moderate sums at the expensive venues (Chicago and Wash DC) but then make back the losses in San Diego where expenses are considerably lower. However if the San Diego meeting does not recover the losses of the past two years then the Board will need to consider alternative venues or means of cutting costs or raising income.

 

One situation that is not stable is the Sandler Fund. Two years ago the Board voted to bill the projection costs for the Sandler lecture (estimated to be $3,551 in 2004) to the lecture fund. It is becoming clear that in the current economic climate the Fund cannot keep up with this added cost, resulting in a decreasing balance for the past three years. I suggest that starting this year the Board adopt a policy that any expenses over income to the Fund be billed to the general meeting account, guaranteeing that the Fund will not drop below its current level.

 

 

 

6. REPORT OF THE ELECTIONS COMMITTEE (Trudi Schupbach)

 

Trudi Schupbach introduced our three international representatives whose appointments were arranged informally since this is our first year of having international reps.   She reminded us that there is no formal mechanism for selecting these individuals.  Although several possible mechanisms were discussed but they are cumbersome given that the job requires that the representatives attend the National Fly Meeting and cover  their own expenses. A major goal is to have representatives to help us disseminate information about community resources.  To facilitate communication among groups of colleagues internationally, Ashburner noted that  FlyBase could generate a user list of researchers for any one give geographical region.  Yash Hiromi noted that a list exists for Japan already.  Robb Saint suggested that the Australia insect meeting serves as a good vehicle for advertising among his colleagues.  He also suggested that Singapore can be included in his purview so this will be changed.   The European Drosophila Conference is a good meeting for the area covered by David Ish-Horovitz.  Since we want the International representatives to rotate with 3 year terms, there is time for the groups to decide how to best handle selecting the next replacements for 2007.  There was some discussion of changing Canada to international status also, but in fact, the Fly Meeting are the North American Fly Meetings and it is more efficient to elect Canadian colleagues as we are currently doing on the regular elections. 

 

The Board approved to make the following changes to the Drosophila board charter:

Regional Representatives

 

The Board consists of one elected Representative from each of the following

regions of the U.S. and Canada:

 

New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut,

Rhode Island)

Mid-Atlantic (Downstate New York, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania,

Delaware, West Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia)

Southeast (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,

Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Puerto Rico)

Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri)

Great Lakes (Upstate New York, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Michigan)

Heartland (Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, New

Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas)

Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska)

California (California, Hawaii, Nevada)

Canada (Canada)

 

In addition, there will be three International Representatives from each of

the following regions:

Australia/Oceania

Asia

Europe

These delegates will be appointed by the communities in these regions.

 

Regional Representatives serve on the Board for a period of three years.

Terms of office for the Officers and the Regional Representatives begin and

end in the spring, coincident with the annual meeting.

 

 

Election Report

 

The Elections Committee consisted of Trudi Schupbach (Chair), Debbie Andrews, Ulrike Heberlein, Steve DiNardo, Eric Wieschaus and the three new members Mariana Wolfner, Celeste Berg, and Jeff Simon.  We met virtually and chose the nominees listed below.  People were nominated by the committee as a whole, based on previous involvement in the fly community, and our perception of their ability to perform the job.  We also asked the outgoing delegates for their input, which was very helpful. From a larger list of potential candidates we then selected by vote the following election slate:

Candidates for Board Elections 2004

 

President:

Lynn Cooley (Yale University)

Rick Fehon (Duke University)

Scott Hawley (Stowers Institute)

 

Mid-Atlantic

Claude Desplan (NYU)

Jim Kennison (NIH)

Ruth Steward (Rutgers University)

 

Northwest:

Sarah Smolik (Oregon Health & Science University)

Barbara Taylor (Oregon State University)

 

California

Ken Burtis (UC Davis)

Jim Posakony (UC San Diego)

 

International delegates

At the last board meeting it had been decided that we should try to have some international delegates attending the meetings. We therefore contacted, and finally enlisted the following international delegates who will be serving for three years:

Robert Saint/ Australia/Oceania

Yasushi Hiromi/ Asia

David Ish-Horowicz/ Europe

 

During the next three years the delegates will try to figure out a fair way to elect or appoint their successors. Obviously the choice is limited by the fact that the international delegates have to be willing to travel overseas on their own money. Nevertheless, hopefully, this will start a new tradition with new and diverse input into matters discussed by the Board that concern all fly people.

 

 

The following letter was emailed to all flypeople in the FlyBase rolls.

 

Dear Flyperson,

 

Enclosed you will find a ballot on which to cast your vote

for a representative from a geographical region and/or the president-elect

for the National Drosophila Board.  The Board administers the

finances for the annual North American Drosophila Research

Conference and the Sandler Lecture Award, chooses the meeting

organizers, provides oversight for the community resource centers,

and addresses issues affecting the entire fly community.  There

are nine regional representatives on the Board, eight from the

United States and one from Canada.  The Board also has a President

and Treasurer, as well as individuals representing Drosophila

community resource centers, including the BDGP, Flybase and the

Bloomington Stock Center. The Board has a business meeting once

a year, just before the start of the annual meeting; during the

year business is regularly addressed with e-mail discussions and

voting.  Further information about the Board can be found at:

 

http://flybase.net:7084/docs/news/announcements/drosboard/

 

Starting in 1999, the Board instituted community elections for regional

representatives and for the President-Elect.

 

Please participate in this election, it is your opportunity to choose

the people that will determine the scope and organization of the national

meetings, as well as help set priorities and garner support for community

resources.

 

Please vote for one of the following people in each category.  In order

to record your vote delete this upper portion of the ballot and simply

reply to this email indicating your selection of one individual in each

category.  You may vote for candidates in all categories even though

you do not reside in that candidates region of the country.

Balloting will end JANUARY 20, 2004.

 

*****REMEMBER*****

Vote for only ONE candidate in each category

Return ONLY the ballot portion of this message

Reply to the sender of this message NOT to the people below

 

 

The election ballots were tallied by Thom Kaufman, and the winners were:

Lynn Cooley for president elect,

Claude Desplan, for Mid-Atlantic,

Barbara Taylor, for the Northwest

Ken Burtis for California.

 


DROSOPHILA BOARD COMPOSITION

Drosophila Board Master List                              Spring 2004 - 2005                                                                  

flyboard@morgan.harvard.edu

 

Year indicates the last spring through which Board Members will serve as Officers or Regional Reps.

Officers:

 

Spring

 

Ruth Lehmann

President

2004

lehmann@saturn.med.nyu.edu

Lynn Cooley

President-elect

2004

lynn.cooley@yale.edu

Barbara Wakimoto

Past-President

2004

wakimoto@u.washington.edu

Trudi Schüpbach

Past-past President & Elections Chair

2004

gschupbach@molbiol.princeton.edu

Rick Fehon

Treasurer

2006

rfehon@duke.edu

Regional Representatives:

 

 

 

Henry Krause

Canada

2006

h.krause@utoronto.ca

Sean Carroll

Great Lakes

2005

sbcarrol@facstaff.wisc.edu

Susan Parkhurst

Northwest outgoing

2004

susanp@fhcrc.org

Barb Taylor

Northwest

2007

taylorb@bcc.orst.edu

Amy Bejsovec

Southeast

2005

bejsovec@duke.edu

Judith Lengyel

California outgoing

2004

jlengyel@ucla.edu

Ken Burtis

California

2007

kcburtis@ucdavis.edu

Dennis McKearin

Heartland

2006

dennis.mckearin@utsouthwestern.edu

Laurel Raftery

New England

2005

laurel.raftery@cbrc2.mgh.harvard.edu

Denise Montell

Mid-Atlantic outgoing

2004

dmontell@jhmi.edu

Claude Desplan

Mid-Atlantic

2007

claude.desplan@nyu.edu

Lori Wallrath

Midwest

2006

lori-wallrath@uiowa.edu

International Representatives:

 

 

 

Robert Saint

Australia/Oceania

2007

robert.saint@anu.edu.au

Yasushi Hiromi

Asia

2007

yhiromi@lab.nig.ac.jp

David Ish-Horowicz

Europe

2007

david.horowicz@cancer.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Ex Officio:

 

 

 

Bill Gelbart

FlyBase

 

gelbart@morgan.harvard.edu

Gerry Rubin

BDGP & FlyBase

 

gerry@fruitfly.berkeley.edu

Thom Kaufman

B’ton S.C.& FlyBase

 

kaufman@sunflower.bio.indiana.edu

Kathy Matthews

B’ton S.C.& FlyBase

 

matthewk@indiana.edu

Kevin Cook

Bl’ton S.C. &

Nomenclature Comm.

 

kcook@bio.indiana.edu

 

Teri Markow

Tucson Species S.C.

 

tmarkow@arl.arizona.edu

Jim Thompson

DIS

 

jthompson@ou.edu

Michael Ashburner

Europe & FlyBase

 

ma11@gen.cam.ac.uk

Hugo Bellen

B’ton S.C. Adv. Comm.

& P element project

 

hbellen@bcm.tmc.edu

Allan Spradling

P-element project

 

spradling@ciwemb.edu

Ross Cagan

Sandler Comm.

 

cagan@molecool.wustl.edu

Scott Hawley

Nomenclature Comm

 

rsh@stowers-institute.org

David Bilder

Image competition

 

bilder@socrates.berkeley.edu

Toshi Yamamoto

Kyoto stock center

 

yamamoto@ipc.kit.ac.jp

Larry Goldstein

At-large

 

lgoldstein@ucsd.edu

Chuck Langley

At large

 

chlangley@ucdavis.edu


 

Past-Presidents serve as Members at large with terms ending:

Steve Wasserman

 

2004

stevenw@ucsd.edu

Trudi Schüpbach

 

2005

gschupbach@molbiol.princeton.edu

Barbara Wakimoto

 

2006

wakimoto@u.washington.edu

2004 Meeting Organizers:

 

 

 

Paul Lasko

 

 

paul.lasko@mcgill.ca

Howard Lipshitz

 

 

lipshitz@sickkids.on.ca

2005 Meeting Organizers:

 

 

 

Kavita Arora

 

 

karora@uci.edu

Rahul Warrior

 

 

rwarrior@uci.edu

Frank Laski

 

 

Laski@ewald.mbi.ucla.edu

GSA Representatives:

 

 

 

Elaine Strass

Executive Director

 

estrass@genetics.faseb.org 

Marsha Ryan

Sr. Mtg. Coord.

 

mryan@genetics.faseb.org

 


 

 

 

7. PROPOSAL ON PRESIDENTS TERM (Trudi Schupbach, Ruth Lehmann and Barbara Wakimoto)

 

Trudi Schupbach, Ruth Lehmann and Barbara Wakimoto presented a proposal to the Board to change the election time and term of the President in order to provide more continuity and experience for those serving.   The proposal is to name a President-elect the year prior to the year as service as President.  This will allow the President-elect to be in the loop and attend the Board meeting prior to the year that she/ he will be presiding.  The proposal was passed unanimously.  Rather than wait one year to implement this change, the Board decided to solve the immediate need for a President-elect by holding a special election early.  Election Committee will work on a ballot immediately.

 

The Board approved to make the following changes to the Drosophila board charter:

Instead of:

The Drosophila Board will have a President, elected by the community, who will serve for one year.

We would suggest :

The Drosophila Board will have a President, elected by the community, who will serve for one year as President elect and for one year as President.

 

 

8. REPORT OF THE NOMENCLATURE COMMITTEE (Kevin Cook and Scott Hawley)

 

Kevin Cook and Scott Hawley discussed the input they received from the community on nomenclature policies.  There was no strong consensus reached except to change the ways we designate the ~200 “confusable pairs” such as b for black and B for Bar.  The Board endorsed this change.  Kevin and Scott concluded that it was too hard to change history of gene naming otherwise and that for all other aspects of nomenclature, we would do best to keep the current designations in place, but prohibit bad nomenclature from this point forward.   The changes include preventing the use of Capital letters even for allele designations, and the use of “d” or D as the leading letter for Drosophila gene orthologues for proteins known in other organisms.  While there are no standard rules now for naming orthologues, there are many different opinions.  It was pointed out that naming using a protein name for an assumed orthologue can be problematic since it is not always clear that the gene in question is really an orthologue.  It was generally agreed that the less “loaded” a gene designation is, the safer the name will be, in spite of the fact that it may make the Drosophila gene names less accessible to non-Drosophilists.  This will become a stickier problem in the future as genes will be named in additional Drosophila genomes.  However, Kevin noted that gene names are not always set in stone.  For example if a group of workers present a strong argument for changing a gene name to something more useful, it will be considered by the Nomenclature Committee. 

 

Bill Gelbart pointed out that the expenses involved in implementing nomenclature changes can be extensive and include computational and curator times.  Kevin and Scott expressed thanks to the FlyBase curators, especially Rachel Drysdale for helping with the nomenclature project. 

 

Report of the Ad Hoc Nomenclature Committee

 

The committee, consisting of Scott Hawley and Kevin Cook, was charged with assessing current nomenclatural practice and assisting FlyBase is resolving nomenclatural disputes.  In particular, the committee was asked to evaluate the need or desirability of changing capitalization of gene names.  We included Rachel Drysdale in our discussions to lend nomenclatural expertise and to represent the concerns of FlyBase.  We focus on our findings on this issue here.

 

We opened a public discussion of capitalization by posting a draft proposal on the Stock Center website (http://flystocks.bio.indiana.edu/Caps.htm) and soliciting comments.  Comments were posted publicly to engender further discussion. 

 

There was consensus concerning three issues.  We propose the following nomenclatural changes to address them:

 

Issue:  Most participants agreed that capitalization should not be the only way to distinguish gene symbols.  There are approximately 210 gene symbol pairs or triplets distinguished only by capitalization.

 

Proposal:  Change gene symbols for these confusable cases.  With the FlyBoard’s approval, we will proceed to solicit public suggestions for new lowercase symbols for these genes.  Once consensus is reached, we will ask FlyBase to change these gene symbols in the appropriate entries.  Gene symbol changes will propagate to Suppressor and Enhancer loci.  For example, if tor changes to torso, then Su(tor) loci will become Su(torso) loci.  Changes will not automatically propagate to aberration or transgene construct names, but may be propagated where there is a clear benefit.

 

Issue:  Most participants agreed that the practice of capitalizing gene names and symbols should be eliminated in the future.

 

Proposal:  FlyBase would no longer create gene entries with capitalized names.  Certain pragmatic exceptions will be allowed such as new “CG” loci, cytological designations within gene names, etc.  Additionally, the use of other elements in gene names will be codified, e.g. no superscripts or subscripts, no non-Roman characters, etc.

 

Issue:  Precedence currently works to preserve capitalized gene names.

 

Proposal:  Precedence should not be followed in the future for genes named for gain-of-function phenotypes when they are found to be allelic to genes named for loss-of-function phenotypes.  For example, Tufted (Tft) was recently found to be allelic to absent MD neurons and olfactory sensilla (amos).  The gain-of-function Tft1 allele is now called amosTft, despite the historical precedence of the Tufted gene name.

 

These three proposals are conservative in their scope.  Eliminating other instances of capitalization was much more controversial and we found a wide variety of opinions, ranging from “Don’t change anything” to “Eliminate all capitalization”.  We identified four recurring themes in public comments:

 

1.  Changes in nomenclatural practices may make the fly literature more accessible to scientists working in other model systems.

 

2.  The practice of capitalizing gene names for loci with common visible marker alleles such as Cy1, Ser1, Sb1, etc. is convenient for geneticists in diagramming crosses.

 

3.  Precedence in gene names assures nomenclatural stability and continuity within the scientific literature.

 

4.  Drosophila nomenclatural practices have changed with changes in the field of genetics and, despite the fact that it results in internal inconsistencies, this historical perspective has value.

 

Respondents judged the importance of these points differently, and came to different conclusions about the desirability of more extensive changes to capitalization.  We did not recognize any consensus arising from the discussions.  We also recognize that issues such as literature accessibility are bigger than simply changing capitalization.

 

Discussions with members of FlyBase gave us another perspective on the issue.  The costs of implementing nomenclatural changes are quite high.  Extensive changes in the capitalization of gene names would require weeks if not months of work by FlyBase literature curators.  Given current budgetary constraints at FlyBase, implementing nomenclatural changes might be practically impossible even if there had been unanimous support.  FlyBase resources are probably better used in improving genome annotation, literature curation, software development, etc.

 

Consequently, at this point we cannot recommend further changes to capitalization practices.

 

 

 

9. REPORT OFF THE BLOOMINGTON STOCK CENTER (Kevin Cook)

 

Kevin Cook reported that there is substantial growth in stock accessions so it is now much faster than anticipated.  This will require that fees be raised within the year and Kevin and Kathy Matthews are developing a revised cost recovery plan.  He also reported that the Excelix stocks have been incorporated into the collection and are now available for ordering.

 

Report from the Bloomington Stock Center

 

1. Holdings

Total stocks on 12/31/03                    14,144    (total as of 3/22/04 = 16,573)

 

A.1. ADDED DURING 2003

2,553 stocks were added to the collection in 2003, including replacements for 3 previously held stocks.  The majority of these lines (2,014) are new transposable element insertions for the gene disruption set, 176 are new GAL4 or UAS lines, and 83 are deficiency stocks (81 new deficiencies and 2 replacements). The new stocks can be categorized by their primary characteristics as follows:

 

Lethal, sterile or visible alleles         1,070 (843 are sequence-mapped P-insertion alleles)

Other sequence-mapped insertions                  1,172 (341 are PBac insertions for which we have no gene call data yet)

Deficiencies                                                 83

Balancers                                                        2 (1 is also in both the GFP and GAL4/UAS categories)

GAL4/UAS                                                177 (4 also in the GFP category)

FRT/FLP                                                        15 (3 are also in the GFP category, 4 in the lacZ category)

GFP and other florescent markers       18

lacZ markers                                                10

P mutagenesis                                             15

Mapping lines                                               5 (3 are included in categories above)

Multiple visible marker lines                    2

 

2. Use

 

US

Acad

US

Gov

US

Com

US

Teach

Foreign

All

Total

Registered

2003

911

55%

27

1.6%

26

1.6%

47

2.8%

643

39%

1,654

Received

Stocks

638

60%

20

1.8%

12

1%

10

0.9%

421

38%

1,101

67%

                 

TABLE 1.  Numbers of registered user groups in each institutional category (U.S. Academic, U.S. Government, U.S. Commercial, U.S. Teaching, and Foreign) and percent of total, and the percent of registered groups in each category that received stocks in  2003.

 

 

 

US

Acad

US

Gov

US

Com

US

Teach

Non-

US

Total

Registered

2,764

56%

58

1%

54

1%

55

1%

2,015

41%

4,946

 

TABLE 2.  The total number of registered user-group members in each institutional category for 2003.

 

 

US

Acad

US

Gov

US

Com

US

Teach

Foreign

Acad

Foreign

Com

Foreign

Teach

Total

Ships

5,889

63%

222

2%

123

1%

33

 0.3%

3,119

33%

16

0.2%

7

0.07%

9,411

 

Subs

 

80,585

63%

1,887

1.4%

2,531

2%

86

0.06%

42,024

33%

822

0.6%

1

0%

127,936

 

TABLE 3.  Degree of institutional use of the center during 2003. The number of shipments (Ships) and number of subcultures (Subs) received by each institutional category (U.S. Academic, U.S. Government, U.S. Commercial, U.S. Teaching, Foreign Academic, Foreign Commercial and Foreign Teaching) are shown, followed by the percent of the total each category represents.

 

3. Fees

 

1-5

6-20

21-50

51-100

101-500

501-1000

>1000

Total

Groups

178

(16%)

247

(22%)

220

(20%)

166

(15%)

248

(23%)

25

(2%)

17

(2%)

1,101

Stocks

478

(0.4%)

2,950

(2%)

7,358

(6%)

12,032

(10%)

54,355

(44%)

16,835

(14%)

30,454

(24%)

124,462*

Assessed

Fees

$9,230

(3%)

$27,100

(9%)

$42,682

(14%)

$50,544

(16%)

$129,759

(41%)

$25,055

(8%)

$29,146

(9%)

$313,516

Invoiced

Fees

$9,230

(3%)

$24,460

(8%)

$42,682

(14%)

$50,544

(17%)

$129,759

(43%)

$25,055

(8%)

$29,146

(10%)

$301,715

 

TABLE 4. Assessed and Invoiced Fees in Selected Use Ranges for 2003. The number of groups in each use range (and the percent of total active groups), the total number of subcultures received by those groups (and the percent of total chargeable subcultures), the assessed fees (and percent of total) for all groups in that range, and the invoiced fees (and percent total) are shown. Invoiced fees are assessed fees minus waived fees.

*The remaining 3,474 subcultures shipped in 2003 were unchargeable, because they were replacements for stocks lost or killed in transit.

 

4. Funding

 

Current direct-costs funding, FY 03/04

                  NSF        $219,644

                  NIH        $193,402

                  IU            $  40,518

                  Fees        $289,646 (estimated as $301,715 - 4%)      

          -------------------------------------

                  Total       $743,210  (plus 49% indirect costs on federal funds - $202,392)

 

We are currently in year 5 of a 5-year funding period. Current funding was intended to provide for a 15,000 line collection; our renewal request was for 20,000 lines. We expect to receive a 2 - 3% increase in federal funding when our new funding period begins in August of 2004. This expected funding level is 19% less in direct costs than we requested, meaning that all of the cost of the additional 5,000 lines must be supported by fee income.

 

5. Endowment

 

The book value of our endowment as of 3/1/04  is $775,279. Market value is less, perhaps 75% of the book value.

 

6. Advisory Committee

 

                  Hugo Bellen (Chair)

                  Michael Ashburner

                  Susan Parkhurst

                  Norbert Perrimon

                  Amanda Simcox

 

 

 

10. REPORT BY THE STOCK CENTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE (Hugo Bellen)

 

Hugo Bellen reported for the Stock Center Advisory Committee.  Their assessment is that the current holdings of the Bloomington center are17K stocks.  The stock center can increase to 25K carrying capacity but more than this will not be possible because of space constraints.  He reminded us that NIH provided only a 3% increase while stock numbers are up by 30%.  The critical question is how much of the money needed to cover the shortfall should come from cost recover?   Right now 40% of costs are covered by users.  If costs continues to increase, cost recovery from users could increase, which could mean that users will routinely pay $2K per year.  This could definitely be a hardship for many labs.  It was Hugo’s opinion and was agreed by others that cost recovery should be used for emergency and that the Stock Center should maintain as best it can its policy of fair distribution to all labs.

 

Hugo summarized the status of the stock transfer of the P and piggyBac collections to Bloomington.  He noted that the stock center wisely took the cream of the collection, that 80% of piggyBacs cannot be excised and it is almost impossible to make single gene deletions from them.  Difficult decisions will have to be made soon on which stocks to keep and which to discard from the collection.   This may include discarding stocks, which have not been ordered from the community in several years.  It was noted that these “rarely” ordered stocks this year, could be much needed in the next year, emphasizing again that difficult decisions will have to be made to best accommodate the huge increase in the number of tools and stocks being generated by the community.  Hugo also reminded the Board that Spyros Artavanis Tsakonas has generously assumed the responsibility of carrying the bulk of the Exelixis stocks and distributing them to the community, and he will need funds to do this. 

 

There was some discussion about whether the stock changing robots could be used to help with the stock overload problems and expenses.  Hugo reported that people do better, check for problems and keep the stocks in better shape.  A cost analysis by the Bloomington stock center showed that robots are considerably more expensive than human labor due to frequent breakdown, costs of repairs and space requirements.

 

Report from Hugo Bellen with respect to general issues of the Bloomington Stock Center

 

The Bloomington stock center (BSC) has added numerous stocks in the past year.  The total number of stocks has now reached close to 17,000.  The stock center can still grow but I estimate that it will be near capacity in the next three years. We estimate that the maximum number of stocks that can be kept is 25,000.  The BSC has expressed the wish not to grow beyond this number.  In addition, much of the expansion is not supported by the NIH or NSF but rather by fees that BSC charges to users every year.  Given that NIH and NSF have only given a 3% increase whereas the number of stocks will have risen by 30% (at 20,000) to 60% (at 25,000), we will have to assess more hefty fees.  We built up a reserve pool of money in the past couple years but a significant portion of this money will be used to support the expansion including necessary expansion of the stock center infrastructure and the addition of new employees.  We would like to make clear that the majority of these fees come from NIH and NSF through grant support in an indirect fashion anyway, and that we do not want to rely on these fees for more than 40% of our operating expenses.

 

The general strategy has been to only keep stocks that are in demand.  Stocks must be ordered more than once a year for several years in a row in order to be kept (the last cull was done in 2000, another will be done this year).  There is now more pressure than ever to take on more stocks than we can possibly keep.  We have a simple policy: one P-element insertion per gene, one EMS induced allele, preferably null (the combination of these two classes should not exceed 20,000 in the next 5 years).  In addition, we wish to keep classical deficiencies, the 500 new deficiencies from Exelixis, the extra 2,000 deficiencies that Kevin Cook and his team are generating, the strains that mark specific tissues with GAL4 expression, FRT strains and numerous other strains.  It is important to realize that we are now coming to a situation where if we take on a new set of stocks we must seriously consider eliminating some of what we now have.  Moreover, we will be less able to take advantage of new technologies unless we can make room for such stocks by eliminating current holdings.

 

 

 

10. REPORT ON THE KYOTO  STOCK CENTER (Toshi Yamamoto) AND UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING (Kevin Cook)

 

Toshi Yamamoto reported on the status of the Kyoto Stock Center. The Drosophila Genetic Resource Center, DGRC, in Kyoto has a capacity of around 35000 stocks.  Currently we  have about 17000 stocks, which consists of basic stocks, Gal-4 stocks called NP lines, UAS/Promoter lines (GS and LA lines), old Umea stocks, Protein traps, etc. Basic strains are mostly duplicates with Bloomington's, which we consider important to maintain separately in case a tragic loss occurred at either stock center. In addition to the basic running costs, we are currently supported largely by National Bio-Resource Project (NBRP) from Ministry of Education,  Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and will last for three years more including this year.  We are still have some capacity left and accepting  stocks along the acquisition policy of DGRC.  Under the project we maintain  stocks of other Drosophila species in three sub-centers, one carries mainly melanogaster mutants, NP lines and RNAi strains, second sub-center keeps Japanese Drosophila strains collected in the wild populations, and third sub-center keeps mutant strains of ananassae, auraria, hydei, and others,

 

Stocks we maintain are available to Drosophila researchers overseas as well, and we will charge fees equivalent to the Bloomington from 2004.  Prof. Ashburner will help to put our stocks on the Flybase.

 

After the meeting we decided to start accepting P insertion lines from Hugo Bellen.

 

Kevin Cook provided an update of his efforts to work with the USDA to allow shipping of Drosophila stocks.  The USDA instituted new rules for importing flies into the US and they now require import permit with an application taking from 6-10 weeks to process.  He is working for a blanket permit for the Drosophila stock centers and users and will keep us posted on the progress.

 

 

 

12. REPORT ON P ELEMENT GENE DISRUPTION PROJECT (Allan Spradling)

 

Allan Spradling provided an update on the P element collection and the procedures used to assess the overlap with the Exelixis donation.  He also noted that the Korean Genexel Company has approached him about purchasing their collection.  The addition of the Korean collection could add 1,175 stocks with unique insertions to the collection.   The possibility of purchasing the collection was considered and evaluated against the costs of recovering the similar magnitude of unique insertions by P element disruption project.   It was estimated that an offer of $100K might be reasonable from our perspective, but the Korean company would undoubtedly want more.  Although some noted that the lines they have received have been sent in fine shape, with a cost of $100 per line, the biggest problem is that the MTA of the company is far too restrictive.  Unless the MTA can be negotiated to a more reasonable version, as was done with Exelixis, it seems best to not count on the Korean company as providing the inserts at a reasonable cost to the stock centers.   It is possible that there is some overlap with the stocks now provided by the Kyoto Stock Center, emphasizing again the advantages of working with Toshi Yamamoto  to minimize overlap.

 

Commentary by Hugo Bellen: “Some of the stocks that are being donated by private collections have strings attached.  We have a policy (theory) of "fewest possible strings". We therefore decided that when strains from publicly sponsored efforts are available to replace stocks with "strings" we would systematically replace them and "good enough" stocks with no strings will not be replaced with "better" stocks with strings. This is an issue with the Exelixis stocks as well as with the potential acquisition of the Genexel stocks.

 

The issue of Genexel is up for discussion. I am of the opinion that we should not support a stock center in Korea, nor should we spend a lot of money on these stocks.  A reasonable amount of money for about 1,200 stocks seems to be $100,000, maybe $200,000.  First, Exelixis gave their stocks to us for free and we do not want to antagonize them.  Second, the "strings" may be a major issue. Third, there are already plenty of stocks, and the NIH is supporting us to provide more stocks for another three years. I have had no complaints that the project is not moving fast enough, and Bloomington may not be able to take these on top of current commitments until a new media kitchen is available, which will be at least a year from now, probably longer.  Most people seem to have few genes that have not been hit so far, and they have their hands full with what is already available.  We are currently at about 50% (of 13,666 genes). Adding another 10% every year till we reach 90% is a feasible goal.  So why buy stocks with strings?”

 

 

 

13. REPORT ON THE SPECIES SEQUENCING PROJECT ) Chuck Langley, Bill Gelbart, Teri Markow and Kevin Cook

 

Chuck Langley summarized the current status of the D.  yakuba and simulans sequencing projects.  A successful Early Users meeting was held as a satellite meeting to the Fly Meeting with ~ 80 people attending to discuss research interests with the Washington University Sequencing Center personnel who are sequencing the sims/yak genomes.  The yakuba genome is covered at 8X now, 2 rounds of finishing sequence will soon be completed, and the anticipated release date is late fall.  D simulans project has been designed so 7 strains will each be covered at 1X; all 7 are expected to be done in Sept; some quality checkpoints will be assessed in next few months.  Chuck also reported that NHGRI has funded the project to sequence 50 wild melanogaster lines for population genetic analysis.  He has received initial approval  for 3 yr funding to build a pipeline to sequence using a new sequencing strategies and chip technology.   The current plan is to sequence a selected  10 megabase; longer term is to sequence the rest of the genome.  The 50 strains will be deposited in the stock center; 40 of these were collected from well studied, inbred free of inversions and lethals ; 10 are African lines.

 

Bill Gelbart provided an update on the plans for sequencing the other Drosophila species.  The assembled  D. virilis sequence should be released by the end of April.  Four other species are in progress; inbred stocks are being constructed for a few of the stocks.  Two species persimilis, sechellia have  not yet assigned to genome center . He also noted that Baylor working effectively with FlyBase for annotation of pseudoobscura.

Claude Desplan made a plea for the Drosophila community to endorse the sequencing of non-fly species and suggested Nasonia as the species of choice for evo/devo studies.  He was encouraged to organize the Nasonia community to make a strong case to the NHGRI Genome committee. 

 

Teri Markow was unable to attend the board meeting but send a report describing the role of the Tuscon Stock Centers in the sequencing project.  In April 2003, The Tucson Stock Center hosted a meeting of Drosophila biologists to develop a request for sequencing genomes of additional Drosophila species.  This meeting of the Tucson Drosophila Genome Consortium (TDGC) resulted in the submission of two white papers, one requesting sequencing of eight species and another requesting production of BAC libraries for these eight plus an additional 12 species.  Both requests were approved with high priority and in fall 2003, criteria were developed by the TDGC to select appropriate strains for each species as well as to determine acceptable levels of nucleotide heterogeneity following inbreeding.

Agencourt was selected to sequence D. virilis, D. ananassae, D. mojavensis, D. erecta, and D. grimshawi. D. willistoni has been assigned to TIGR.  Two species, D. persimilis and D. sechellia, have not yet been assigned to a sequencing facility.  BAC library production for all 20 species will be done by the Arizona Genomics Institute, a NHGRI - BAC facility housed in the same building as the Tucson Stock Center.

 

In order to provide consistency and centralized documentation for the production of the strains and the DNAs across species and to coordinate the two effort (WGS and BAC) the TSC, which has expertise in rearing a wide range of species, is overseeing the production of inbred, homokaryotypic strains of the species approved for WGS and BAC library production. In all species with the exception of D. willistoni, the TSC is also collecting the embryos and preparing the DNA. DNA from those eight species approved for WGS are being sent to the BAC facility at the University of Arizona Genomics Institute at the same time.  DNA from two of the species, D. virilis and D. ananassae, has already been received by both facilities (Agencourt and Arizona Genomics Institute).  DNA from a third species, D. mojavensis, is expected to be ready in early April.   Inbreeding is continuing in the other species, with the highest priority on those species approved for WGS.  In a few cases, highly inbred strains were available from members of the community, while in remaining cases, strains were chosen for inbreeding based upon their previous history (ie. strains in the stock center for several decades are likely to require less inbreeding than recently collected strains).  Some species, because of their specialized ecologies or life histories are more labor intensive than others to prepare for these projects.    The TSC anticipates having DNA from all eight WGS species to the facilities by late fall 2004.

 

D. willistoni will reach generation 8 of inbreeding next week and will be sent to TIGR for DNA isolation for sequencing.

The TSC will isolate DNA from the same strain for the BAC facility.

 

The remaining four species for sequencing will be ready at different times over the next six months, depending upon issues like generation times maturation rates.

 

 

 

14. REPORT ON DIS, DROSOPHILA INFORMATION SERVICE  (Jim Thompson)

 

Jim Thompson reported that Volume 86 (2003) of Drosophila Information Service was published on schedule in January 2004.  This is the third year for the December deadline for submission of materials, which seems to work very well.  Issues now report contributions on a calendar year basis.  Since well over half the annual contributions are received in December, this is a relatively rapid publication rate.  The number of articles remains approximately the same, and the cost of this year’s 178 page volume will be unchanged at $12.00 plus shipping and handling.  Beginning with this volume, we now print directly from electronic files using the images submitted by researchers (or good scanned versions), rather than using the much more expensive process of having professional half-tones produced for the printer.  Thus, costs and print-runs of the hard copy can be tailored more effectively to the anticipated demand.  This also means that it will be easier to upload future volumes onto our web site (www.ou.edu/journals/dis).  Server space availability issues are, however, a new concern.  We may need to investigate alternative options, since we cannot readily afford a monthly “server space rental” charge the university has indicated it may begin imposing.  Our only source of income is from selling printed copies, and those sales are beginning to decline as the issues become available electronically.  But we see this as a positive event, since contributions will be more easily accessible by researchers world-wide.  This is, after all, the whole point of DIS in the first place.  We will continue uploading back issues to our website as time and space allotments allow.  I continue to solicit information about regional Drosophila meetings (e.g., lists of speakers and titles).  These are reported in a special section of each issue and can be a useful source of outreach for those seeking graduate school mentors or postdoctoral researchers.  Teaching Notes are also of special interest to many readers of DIS.  All information can be sent to:  James N. Thompson, jr., Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK  73019;  jthompson@ou.edu.

 

 

 

15. GUEST VISITOR  Judith Plesset, NSF Program Director, Developmental Mechanisms

 

Judy summarized NSF programs that support Drosophila research.  These programs are spread throughout different divisions and include:

 

Integrative Biology & Neurosciences Division

Animal Developmental Biology

Dev. Neurosciences

 

MCB Division

Eukaryotic Genetics

Signal Transduction

 

Environmental Biology – recently organized

 

She noted additional programs:  Frontiers in integrative Biological Research (FIBR) which she encouraged Drosophilists to consider.  Although the historical emphasis of this program has been in ecology, systematics, gene networks,  it can be broader in scope.  Requirements are for interdisciplinary work and the awards are up to $5 million for 5 years.  There is a preproposal process, followed by an invited proposal evaluation. 

 

In addition the Small Grants for Exploratory Research (100K, one time, program)  SGER might also be considered.  Some individuals mentioned the Cryopreservation proposal as one possibility.  However,   Judy noted that it is rare for NSF to sponsor research carried out in other countries in this SGER program. 

 

 

 

16. NIH/NSF OUTREACH (Barbara Wakimoto, Bill Gelbart and Ruth Lehmann)

 

Ruth Lehmann stressed the importance of the community White Papers for helping NIH evaluate funding priorities and for the successful funding of investigators who are running community facilities.  Barbara Wakimoto suggested that we plan to have a new WP every two years and that discussion of priorities for the next WP should start for this coming year.  This plan would allow the FlyBoard to evaluate a WP draft at next year’s Fly Meeting and approve a final version shortly after next year’s meeting for a WP 2005.  Elected regional representatives were urged to play an active role in getting information out to their communities so colleagues know their input is essential. 

 

Bill Gelbart emphasized that the NHGRI budget is especially tight this year and while the institute has been highly supportive of Drosophila research, we need to consider other sources to fund efforts such as species prep for sequencing.  He proposed that the FlyBoard approve $25K toward this effort.  It was generally agreed that the Board cannot use the meeting funds in such a way but we should support the most important objectives though the WP list of general priorities.

 

Barbara Wakimoto and Chuck Langley emphasized that we have opportunities to educate NSF, NIH officials and as importantly the fly community on the importance of these new sequencing projects.  In general the fly community is unaware of the need, expenses and expertise involved for the proper assembly and annotation of the 9 additional species genomes, the costs borne by FlyBase in incorporating this new information, and the need to coordinate efforts among the sequencing centers, providers of stocks, etc.  The Fly Meeting can serve a more directed educational role in informing our colleagues of these needs.  The elected Board representatives should also help educate others in their regions by keeping them informed of what the Board is pursuing and have responsibilities to contribute ideas for the White Paper.  

 

 

 

17. REPORT ON FLYBASE (Bill Gelbart)

 

The Evolving FlyBase Mission: FlyBase’s mission continues to be to the community database of the core genomic and genetic information on the family Drosophilidae.  Within this broad mission, our prime directive is to attach as much biological information as possible to the genomic sequence of Drosophila melanogaster.  To do so requires a multitude of curational, organizational and presentational responsbilities relating to the basic genetic, genomic, molecular, and higher order (cellular, developmental, neurobiological, populational) information on Drosophilidae.  Of particular interest to us during the 5 year funding period of FlyBase that is just beginning is to extend our goals to systematically capture, organize and display all of the gene/gene_product information that Drosophilists use to draw inferences of pathways and networks.

 

This is a very exciting period for Drosophila genomics and genetics.  During the last year and half, the euchromatin of Drosophila melanogaster was finished and FlyBase completed its first two rounds of reannotation.  Drosophila melanogaster heterochromatin is now in a draft assembly and has been annotated by the BDGP (Gary Karpen, PI).  The Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center (Richard Gibbs, PI) completed a draft assembly of pseudoobscura.  The year 2004 promises, if anything, to be even more exciting. FlyBase, in collaboration with Baylor, is preparing to submit the first annotated assembly of pseudoobscura to GenBank by May and of course, to represent the genomic information on pseudoobscura within the FlyBase database and web resources.  The Washington University Sequencing Center (Rick Wilson, PI) plans to have an initial assembly of yakuba this month, and to assemble the sequence of a set of simulans strains in summer or fall.  Agencourt (Doug Smith, PI) plans to have an assembly of virilis by May, and then to move on to Drosophila ananassae and mojavensis (in that order) afterwards. Agencourt will sequence erecta and grimshawi later in the year.  The JTC/TIGR (Craig Venter, PI) will be sequencing willistoni in 2004.  NHGRI has committed to lower coverage sequencing of persimilis and seychellia, although the sequencing center has not yet been designated.  The possibility should not be discounted that NHGRI will look to the sequencing of even more Drosophila species as a testbed for understanding in depth how to use comparative genomic sequence to understand the information encoded in genomes and to understand how genomes evolve.

 

Adding to the excitement, many large-scale functional genomic datasets are becoming available: transcriptional profiles, protein-protein interaction sets, systematic RNAi knockout experiments, and others. 

 

The community has a right to demand and expect effective access to all of these data.  FlyBase, insofar as is possible, intends to provide such access, through its own resources and internal datasets, and through collaboration and cooperation with other database groups.

 

 The Status of FlyBase Funding: FlyBase submitted a 5 year renewal application to NHGRI in March 2003.  The budget was significantly larger in years 1 and 2 of the renewal than in the succeeding years 3 through 5.  The reason for this is that we are in the midst of a major transition of responsibilties, where the genome project sequences/databases/web interfaces that had been the responsibility of FlyBase-Berkeley were being transferred to FlyBase-Harvard (analysis/curation/database) and FlyBase-Indiana (web interfaces) with the planned phaseout of the FlyBase-Berkeley component at the end of year 2.  The reason for the long transition is that we are taking the opportunity to do a complete revamping of our underlying databases (including full database integration) and our web services as part of this process. 

 

The IRG gave it a priority score of 128 and the budget was largely left intact.  The 5 year grant period, 12/01/2003-11/30/2008, was also recommended.  However, because of Federal budget delays, NHGRI did not have its budget until February.  Starting in January, we began to hear that the NHGRI budget was exceedingly tight and that we would likely not receive the full level of recommended funding.  Without going into the details, the bottom line is that NHGRI needed to cut the larger budget for the first two years by about 20%.  Consider that we calculated the FlyBase-Cambridge-UK budget at $1.6 to the pound, and now we have to recalculate it at $1.95 to the pound, the real dollar budget cut is closer to 25%.  (Because the budget requests for years 3-5 are actually less than the budgets they are providing for years 1 and 2, NHGRI is currently planning on full funding for years 3-5 ... the only “fly in the ointment” for the out years is not knowing what the exchange rate for FlyBase-Cambridge-UK will be then.)  Even though the picture for years 3-5 is more rosy, we should remember that a ripple effect of the years 1 and 2 constraints will be deferred maintenance issues ... for example, a backlog of uncurated papers and of stale data types that need to be upgraded ... that will strain the years 3-5 budgets.

 

Timing is everything and this is just a case of timing being bad.  NHGRI is just as much a hostage of circumstances as we are.  NHGRI has been extremely fair and supportive of FlyBase, and of Drosophila genomic research in general.  The funding for Drosophila genome sequencing, functional genomics, and informatics resources from NHGRI has allowed Drosophila to remain at the forefront of genetic and genomic research.  We at FlyBase are most appreciative of NHGRI’s past support, at levels that would not have been forthcoming from any other granting agency, and for the level of support that is continuing even in the face of the Institute’s budget crunch.

 

We are currently wrestling with the 25% years 1-2 budget shortfall.  It is unfortunate that the tightening of the NIH budget comes just as our planned transition was scheduled.  The magnitude of the budget shortfall is magnified by our need to bring on board the genomes of 12 sequenced species.  Because of timing, 10 of these were not planned and hence not budgeted in our 5 year renewal application.  (To give the Board an idea of scale, at the time of our application, only the pseudoobscura project was approved.  Thus instead of the 40,000 or so gene objects we were expecting to have in FlyBase, we can now anticipate having 250,000 or more genes in a year’s time.  There will be similar scaling issues for the sequence/annotation components of the database as well.  This doesn’t take into account inter-genomic data representations of orthology, synteny, etc., and the logistical overhead of maintaining and updating these information sets.)  Thus, we are feeling the strain of needing to do more with less ... less in real dollars than our previous year’s budget ...  if we are to serve the community well. 

 

There are some budget negotiations ongoing with NHGRI about some leftover money from our previous budget period that we might be able to move into the current grant year, easing our immediate crunch.  However, this will probably not be resolved for another month or two.  Thus, we have to have a plan in place that assumes that the 25% shortfall is permanent for years 1 and 2.  We have trimmed some equipment and ancillary costs, reduced our travel budgets by

shifting from two project meetings per year to one, and have frozen some open positions.  However, we are not in a position where we can afford to stand still.  Thus, we need to hire an additional programmer FTE at FlyBase-Cambridge-UK to handle their local data processing needs and at FlyBase-Indiana for web development, and an additional half-time system/database administrator at FlyBase-Harvard to handle the new compute cluster that we are setting up there as part of the shift in responsibilities from FlyBase-Berkeley.   Whether on balance, we’ll be able to get through the budget crunch by the measures outlined above is uncertain.  In the worst case of no carryforward money, probably not.  If we get some carryforward money, possibly.  Since 80% of our direct costs is salaries, that will have to be our target ... hopefully as much through attrition and redirection of effort as possible.  In principle, because we have pre-award spending authority, we can take a loss one year if we know that we can make it up the next.  However, this year’s budget demonstrates that there are no guarantees and that doing so has inherent risks.

 

We are also looking hard at the way our database activities can “scale”.  This clearly is an overriding priority now.  We are discussing with other database groups how to share code and eliminate redundant effort (the GMOD project is one notable example of this, but there are others).  We also have to think critically about what the next phase of genome annotation will be like, and how to provide computational support so that curator/annotator productivity can be as efficient as possible.  All of our current software development has these goals in mind, but we are unfortunately in this awkward transitional period where the contributions of our current software development in scaling won’t be apparent for another year or two.

 

Is there any way that the Fly Board can help?  Possibly.  FlyBase strongly feels that the Fly Board should recognize the major contribution that NHGRI has made to the fly community over the last decade, and that NHGRI is beginning to bridle under its share of support for Drosophila community resources.  It would be not only to FlyBase’s benefit but to all community resources if other Institutes / Funding Agencies that fund lots of fly grants take even a small share of the responsibility for community resources.  In the case of FlyBase, we’ve been told that even modest contributions to our budget, even in the out years, would help our case a lot.  If you agree as a group, Fly Board lobbying as representatives of the community will be very important.

 

 

 

18. REPORT ON THE IMAGE AWARD (David Bilder)

 

David Bilder reported that the first Image Award Competition had 22 submissions.  The selection committee picked 10 finalists; 1 winner and 2 runner ups, all of these were posted on the meeting Web site.   Improvements  for next year include more advertising to increase the number of submissions.  The Committee will also consider the advantages and disadvantages of a monetary award, perhaps donated by a microscope company.  Currently the prize is a framed image.   Some suggested that we use the winning image on the cover of the next meeting’s abstract book.

 

 

 

19. REPORT ON NEW GSA PRIZE (Lynn Cooley)

 

Lynn Cooley reported that the GSA has provided $1000 to the Fly Meeting for the best student/postdoc poster and platform presentation.  She and Ruth Lehmann presented a plan that involved session chairs, platform speakers and Board members to nominate candidates, and for the meeting organizers Howard and Paul will pick the final winner. 

 

Judges for each topic will be Board members, session moderators and plenary speakers.  The judges view the posters for their topic and attend the platform session.  Here are tentative assignments:

 

Platform/Poster topics

Primary Judges

Techniques & genomics

J. Timothy Westwood, Francis Collins, Ken Burtis

Organogenesis

Dorothea Godt,  Talila Volk, Mark Krasnow, Judy Lengyel

Meiosis, mitosis, cell division

Shelagh Campbell, Rob Saint, Barbara Wakimoto

Cytoskeleon & cell biology

Frieder Schöck. Rick Fehon, Denise Montell

Neurogenetics & neural development

Yong Rao, Matthew Freeman, Lawrence Marsh

Signal transduction I & II

Marc Terrien, Bruce Reed, Laurel Raftery, Amy Bejsovec

Immune system & cell death

Armen Manoukian, Kristin White, Lynn Cooley

Pattern formation I & II

Laura Nilson, Ulrich Tepass, Trudi Schüpbach, David Ish-Horowicz

Gametogenesis & sex determination

Julie Brill, Erika Matunis, Dennis McKearin

Neural physiology & behavior

Gabrielle Boulianne, Ed Kravitz, Barb Taylor

Regulation of gene expression

Vett Lloyd, Yash Hiromi, Claude Desplan, Henry Krause

Genome & chromosome structure

Hugh Brock, Lori Wallrath, Susan Parkhurst

Evolution & quantitative genetics

Peter Andolfatto, Kevin White, Sean Carroll, Linda Partridge

 

Poster selection

Each group meets to discuss their top choices and decide on the one they rate best

Representatives from each group meet and compile a list of top candidates.  Times should be set for these meetings at the Board meeting.  The meeting organizers and Board representative (past or current president?) view the top choices and pick the winner.  This should happen by Saturday afternoon.

 

Platform talk selection

At the conclusion of each session, the each judging group meets to pick the best talk.  The three groups listening to the three concurrent sessions meet briefly and pick a finalist.  One of the judges is picked to represent the finalist.  After the fifth and final concurrent sessions on Saturday afternoon, the judges representing finalists meet and pick the winner.

 

Suggestion for next year

Limit the prizes to posters since these are much easier to judge fairly.  Perhaps have first, second and third place prizes.

 

Given the difficulty in covering all of the platform sessions, it was agreed that we should ask the GSA if we could award only poster winners in coming years. 

 

 

 

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 5:30pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] These numbers are based on estimates from M. Ryan from 5/16/03.

[2] Assumes 1600 total registrants. Currently (2/17/04), there are 1474 paid registrations with a total registration income of  $270,160. Although overall attendance looks similar to last year, projected income is up ~$16,000 due to the $10 increase in registration fees.

[3] According to latest GSA Statement (3/18/04) this amount is actually $20,614.

[4] According to latest GSA Statement (3/18/04) this amount is actually $20,614.