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Minutes 1996 Drosophila Board Meeting

Celeste A. Berg berg at genetics.washington.edu
Thu Nov 7 17:54:11 EST 1996

If anyone would like to comment about these minutes, please respond to:
fly-board at morgan.harvard.edu.  Please feel free to contact your regional
representative about any matter discussed here.

27 April 1996   San Diego, California

1996 Drosophila Board members: D. Nash, S. Zusman, S. Parkhurst, M.
Bender, J.  Tower, J. Botas, S. DiNardo, D. Andrew (not present), W.
Engels, P. Geyer, C. Berg, A. Spradling.
Meeting Organizers:  J. Posakony, S. Bernstein, G. Karpen.  
Other attendees: M. Ashburner, D. Lindsley, K. Matthews, T. Kaufman,
J. Thompson, R. Woodruff, W. Gelbart.

Celeste Berg, President, brought the meeting to order. 


The minutes of the previous meeting had already been approved but were
later amended by Kathy Matthews.  The new version was distributed to
the attendees.


A. 1996 San Diego Meeting:

Berg began by introducing the meeting organizers who described their
activities over the past year in support of the annual research
conference.  This year is the biggest meeting ever with over 1400
registrants.  Topic categories were changed for this year to more
accurately reflect the research interests of the community.  Also the
organizers reduced the number of topics to coincide with the number of
sessions to make programming easier.  One problem Karpen related was
that too many meeting organizers makes it more difficult to work on the
meeting.  Karpen recommended having at most two organizers.

Each year there are more requests for talks than there are slots.  Even
though the number of slots keeps increasing, it does not keep pace with
the number of requests.  Spradling pointed out that the number of
workshop presentations has increased dramatically, and that offsets the
fact that there are not enough slots for talk requests.  Karpen felt
that three concurrent sessions was a good balance for the conferences.

The organizers placed a limit of two talks per lab for the meeting, to
spread out talk slots to as many labs as possible.  In choosing plenary
speakers, the organizers tried to balance topics, the male vs. female
ratio, new and old faces.  Representation of women at the PI level is
still not at 50%.  A new talk was added this year which is a historical
talk by Dan Lindsley.

The organizers requested that the date for abstract submission be moved
back to November 1 because the time over Christmas is really wasted and
the sessions have to be organized and session leaders chosen by the
first week of January.  This aspect of the meeting organization would
be facilitated if abstracts could be disbursed to the meeting chairs
via the Internet.

Discussion ensued in which everyone favored submitting abstracts
electronically, with an option for hard copy submission for those who
do not have access to the internet.  Berg pointed out that, according
to Oriana Cassadei, $8,400 were realized by this year's meeting and
these monies were earmarked for establishing a Web site to facilitate
abstract submission and perusal of the abstracts by the community at
large.  There will be an interim phase for electronic abstract
submission for the 1997 meeting, and then 1998 meeting will be
completely electronic.  All announcements regarding the Drosophila
conferences and submission procedures will be posted to the
bionet.drosophila user group and also on the FlyBase and GSA WWW

As a service, FlyBase produced a valuable gene index to the abstracts
that will be available at the Meeting Registration desk.  In the
future, it would be helpful if the gene index were available ahead of
time.  To facilitate indexing, the abstract form should provide a space
for key words and gene names.  The key words and gene symbols/names
should conform to FlyBase usage.  To further expeditite indexing, it
will be helpful for FlyBase to receive a copy of the abstracts as soon
as they are available.

Problems regarding the San Diego site were discussed.  The meeting
organizers stated that if the meeting is going to be held in San Diego,
other sites should be investigated.  The registration lines were too
long at the last San Diego meeting.  The isolated location and lack of
nearby restaurants was again stated as an issue.  A list of restaurants
with approximate costs, transportation recommendations and local maps
were suggested. (Sandy Bernstein, co-organizer for the 1996 meeting, 
adds:  the hotel was very sensitive to our concerns and
alleviated many of the problems regarding food (by offering meals outdoors
on site at reasonable cost) and registration.  There were no negative
opinions expressed (at least to me) regarding the Towne and Country this
time around.)

Spradling related a problem with respect to those asking for money.  It
should be clearly stated in the Call for Abstracts that those who ask
for money must do so well in advance of the meeting and should present
exactly what their request is more or less in the form of a formal
proposal.  A committee to review such requests would be formed in
January, consisting of the treasurer, president, Marsha Ryan of the
GSA, and any others designated by the president.  Decisions should be
made and recipients notified well before the meeting to avoid the last
minute desperate pleas for support.

B. 1995 Atlanta Meeting:

Spradling reported that 1103 scientists attended the 1995 meeting in
Atlanta, down slightly from 1222 in Chicago the previous year.
Although airfares to Atlanta were cheap and the local restaurants and
other attractions were favorable, fewer investigators are local and
therefore able to drive to the meeting.  Some individuals complained
about the long waits for elevators.  The scientific program was
outstanding, however; 542 posters and 144 platform talks were
presented.  The Board congratulated Spradling on an excellent meeting.

C. Future Meetings:  

The next meeting will be held in Chicago at the Sheraton April 16-20,
1997.  The meeting organizers are Bill Engels, Barry Ganetzky, Allan
Laughon, and Mike Hoffmann.

The 1998 meeting will be held in Washington DC.  The Board had
requested that the meeting be held in Baltimore or Philadelphia, but
Oriana Casadei had found a suitable hotel in DC that was being
refurbished and consequently was actively seeking bookings for the
future.  Drs. Laurel Raftery and Kristin White had approached Berg at
the end of the Atlanta business meeting and offered to organize the
next east coast conference.  The Board voted by email over the previous
summer to accept their offer, stipulating that one other person who has
some organizing experience be included.  Berg discussed several
possibilities with the organizers.  Raftery and White were happy to
have assistance and stated that any one the Board recommended would be
fine.  The Board suggested Terry Orr-Weaver as the third organizer.
(Follow-up note: Terry subsequently agreed to serve.)

In 1999 the Drosophila Community would like to meet in Seattle.  This
decision had been reached three years ago and was intended for the 1996
meeting.  Barbara Wakimoto and Susan Parkhurst were chosen as
organizers.  When the San Diego site was booked for 1996, Barbara and
Susan agreed to wait to organize the meeting until 1999, allowing the
San Diego people a chance to organize the meeting in their own area.

Several other possible sites were suggested for future west coast
meetings, including San Francisco, possibly too expensive, and Las
Vegas, cheap but with fewer local scientists able to drive to the
meeting.  Marsha Ryan will look into West Coast sites for 1999.

A new format for the abstract book, three per page, was recommended to
reduce its size.  The numbering should be even-odd so presentations can
be alternated.  If the abstract books are to be mailed, they should be
wrapped to prevent their covers being destroyed in the mails.  The ring
binding was viewed as a favorable advantage over the previous binding
that fell apart after little use.

Lengthening the meeting was discussed but no changes were decided
upon.  Other changes, such as holding the meeting in the summer at
college campuses, altering the poster format, and catering meals were
discussed.  It was decided that the entire process for choosing sites
and formats for meetings should be investigated further.  (Follow-up
note: A Board subcommittee chaired by John Lucchesi is now 
conducting this reassessment.)


A. Sandler Fund:

The Sandler Fund has $26,000 in it, invested in CDs.  $707 was spent
last year for speaker expenses.  The present balance is $27,100.  This
fund is functioning very well by spending one half of the interest
earned each year.  Spradling felt that $150 was an excessive fee to pay
Merrill Lynch for such a small fund and it should be protested.

B. Meeting Fund:

The Drosophila balance on the GSA books was discussed.  According to
the GSA, there is $36,503 credited to Drosophila as of April, 1996.
(Follow-up note: As of October, 1996, this amount is now $50,828.)  As
agreed in the protocols, the Drosophila community can keep profits from
the meeting.  In 1993  an agreement was reached that $7,000 would be
credited to the Drosophila community in full and final satisfaction of
previous debts.  Since that time profits have been added each year to
reach the balance stated above.  Spradling stated that GSA would like
to keep that money as insurance against a bad meeting.  The Dros Board
discussed how this money should be regarded and concluded that $25,000
should be kept on the books as an insurance fund against a bad meeting
and all other money in excess of that amount could be used in any way
deemed appropriate by the Drosophila Board.  (Follow-up note: Bill will
be meeting with the GSA Board at their November meeting in Boston to
discuss the current status of our affiliation.)


A. Sandler Committee Report - C. Berg for M. Fuller:

Minx Fuller, chair of the Sandler committee, was unable to attend the
Board meeting due to family obligations.  She offered this report, read
by Berg.  Nine recent Ph.D.s were nominated for the Sandler award by
the candidates' advisors.  One was disqualified for this year because
she had not finished her dissertation by January 1, 1996.  The
committee reviewed the abstracts, C.V.'s, and letters of
recommendation, then ranked the candidates by an NIH-style priority
score.  The chair tallied the votes and asked the top three candidates
to submit their full dissertations for consideration.  These candidates
were Chaoyong Ma (advisor , Kevin Moses, USC), Christopher Callahan
(advisor , John Thomas, Salk Inst.), and Kimberly McCall (advisor ,
Welcome Bender, Harvard Med. Sch.).  The committee read all three
dissertations and ranked them; the top candidate was Chaoyong Ma, who
carried out his dissertation work on eye development with Kevin Moses
at the University of Southern California.  (Follow-up note: Larry
Goldstein will be chairing the Sandler committee for the 1997 lecture.)

B. Drosophila Information Service  -- J. Thompson:

Jim Thompson reported that the next regular issue of Drosophila
Information Service, DIS 77, is being put together now and should be
mailed by the end of the summer.  It will include research and
technical notes, the stock list of the Species Stock Center at Bowling
Green, an email listing for U.S. Drosophila researchers, and other
material.  The cost will remain $12.00 plus shipping per copy.  He
again encouraged people to consider publishing in DIS long tables of
important documentation that might not be possible to include in
articles published in other professional journals, techniques, listings
of speakers and topics from regional Drosophila research conferences,
and other information of interest to the community.  He thanked those
who complimented the appearance and production of DIS.  

Bill Gelbart announced that FlyBase will publish two special volumes,
DIS 78 and 79, in the fall or winter of 1996, including tabulations of
(1) a hierarchically organized listing of anatomical structures (the
FlyBase bodyparts vocabulary), (2) update of bibliography, (3)
transposon maps and (4) a compiled genetic map synthesizing
recombinational, complementation and molecular map information.

C. FlyBase- W. Gelbart:

Bill Gelbart reported on the status of the FlyBase database consortium,
a collaboration of groups headed by Michael Ashburner, Thom Kaufman,
Kathy Matthews and Bill.  The goal of the project continues to be to
provide a comprehensive view of the core genetic data of Drosophila.

1. Funding issues:  During the initial three years of the FlyBase project
(Aug.92-Jul.95), funding was provided for FlyBase as a pilot project by
the National Center for Human Genome Research (NCHGR).  The FlyBase
competitive renewal was extremely well received by the study section
and the project was funded at a full scale level, with only modest
budget cuts.  However, consistent with general NCHGR policy, the
advisory council approved funding for only 3 years.  The scaling up of
the FlyBase project, which should have occurred as of August 1, 1995,
was first delayed for four months by end of the year budget problems in
NCHGR, and then was further delayed by the Federal budget crisis.
Thus, the scaling up of the project really didn't begin in earnest
until Feb.96.  In addition, Michael Ashburner obtained funding from the
UK Medical Research Council for a third scientific curator for the
FlyBase project, beginning Apr.96.  The current FlyBase group consists
of the four co-pi's, seven computer scientists and five curators at the
three sites.

2. Current status and future plans:  The database is publicly accessible
on-line, with the WWW being the most popular means of access.  In
addition to the existing data sets, the first data on transposons and
expression patterns are now public.  Over the coming year or two,
FlyBase expects to be providing the community with increasingly
graphical tools, such as the ability to search for expression patterns
or mutant phenotypes by clicking on a specific anatomical structure on
a diagram of some part of the fly, embryo, etc.  FlyBase and BDGP have
continued their collaboration to publish a joint product, the
Encyclopaedia of Drosophila (EofD) that presents a combined view of
EofD and BDGP data to the community.  EofD2.0 is now available on
CD-ROM.  The current plan is to convert to Java-based graphics and
within the next year to have a completely restructured EofD available
on line through the BDGP and FlyBase WWW servers.  During the upcoming
year, FlyBase will also be exploring on-line tools for direct user
submission of specific classes of data to FlyBase.

3. Community interaction:  It was very clear from the FlyBase grant review
that one of the reasons that it is so well received is that it is
viewed as addressing the needs of the community.  Indeed, the historic
origin of FlyBase lies with an initiative of the fly community at the
Business meeting in New Orleans several years ago, in which Dan Hartl
"volunteered" to organize a conference to discuss the possibility of an
electronic database for Drosophila.  The FlyBase collaboration was set
up at this conference.  FlyBase appreciates the support of the FlyBoard
in supporting its efforts and in defraying some of the costs of running
the FlyBase demonstrations at the fly meetings.  Bill urged the board
members to visit both the FlyBase and BDGP demos, and to act as lines
of communication between FlyBase and the community.  Bill noted that
while FlyBase people tend to be asked specific questions, it would
always be helpful to get more feedback from the community.

D. Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project Report - A. Spradling:

1. Cloning:  Sequence-ready clones spanning more than 95% of
euchromatin have been placed on a physical map utilizing more than
4,000 STS tags.

2. Sequencing:  2.6 Megabases of sequence has been completed.  The
Genome Center Grant supporting BDGP was recently renewed for three
years, and now includes funds to initiate production sequencing of the
remaining euchromatin.  The remaining 110 Mb will be completed within
5-7 years depending primarily on the level of available funds.  BDGP
policy is to make sequence available as soon as each 3kb subclone is
completed via automatic submission to Genbank.  When the subclones
defining a single P1 clone are completed, the sequence is assembled and

3. P elements:  Approximately 700 strains bearing single P element
insertions defining different genes that cause recessive phenotypes are
currently in the Bloomington Stock Center.  BDGP will provide one
additional allele of each locus for which multiple alleles have been
obtained.  If a white+ allele has been recovered, it is always retained
as either the primary collection allele in Bloomington, or the reserve
allele at BDGP.  BDGP is now initiating projects to sequence the flanks
of 1,000-2,000 lines that lack phenotypes.  These will be correlated
with a cDNA EST tag project, in which 5' cDNA sequences are being
generated from head, embryo and ovary libraries.

4.  Informatics:  A new Java-based interface for the display of
biological information based on genomic sequence has been developed by
Greg Helt and Suzanna Lewis and was displayed at the meeting.
Eventually , BDGP plans to annotate all Drosophila sequence in this
format and make it available via server to the community and by
submission to GenBank.


A. Bloomington Stock Center -- K. Matthews:

The Bloomington Stock Center had 4,451 stocks as of 3/22/96.  During
1995 we received 2,812 requests for stocks or information, which
resulted in 2,353 shipments containing a total of 25,551 stocks.  These
numbers represent a 10% increase (19% increase in use of
main-collection stocks, 4% decrease in use of P-collection stocks) in
the number of stocks shipped compared to 1994, a 9% decrease in the
number of requests, and an 11% decrease in the number of shipments.
More stocks provided with fewer requests and shipments translates to
more efficient use of the center, which was one of the goals of the
cost-recovery program we instituted 1/1/95.  Use of the collection by
research groups outside the U.S.A. remained at 25% of total use.

63% of stocks shipped were main-collection stocks.  43% of these were
deficiency stocks, making deficiencies the single most-requested
category of stocks (27% of all stocks sent).  37% of stocks shipped
were P-collection  stocks, with 70% of these being Berkeley Drosophila
Genome Project P stocks (25% of all stocks sent).

The cost-recovery program begun in 1995 has now registered 570 user
groups with a total of 2,518 researchers associated with these groups.
$57,178 was collected from 270 contributors in 1995.  427 groups used
the center in 1995.  224 fell into the minimal use category (up to 20
stocks and 4 shipments), 138  into the moderate use category (up to 100
stocks and 12 shipments), and 65 were heavy users of the collection
(more than 100 stocks or 12 shipments).

The Board's advice was requested on whether or not to invoice moderate
and heavy users who did not contribute in 1995 for their 1995 use.
Counter to the center's expectation when the cost-recovery program was
implemented, NSF and NIH have decided to allow the center to retain all
funds raised through cost-recovery during the remainder of the current
grant period (through August 1999).  Therefore, funds collected now
will be available in the future for emergencies or as the beginnings of
an endowment for the center.  Beginning with the next grant period, all
funds above $25,000 per year collected through cost recovery will
replace agency funds dollar for dollar. The Board recommended that all
moderate and heavy users of the center be requested to pay for the
services they received during 1995.

All non-melanogaster species stocks from Bloomington were sent to the
National Drosophila Species Resource Center at Bowling Green State
University.  Most of the Ising TE{} stocks were removed
from the Bloomington collection, and the Umea Stock Center
took a representative set of these.

B. Mid-America Stock Center - R. Woodruff:

The Mid-America Stock Center in Bowling Green had 4,274 stocks as of
March 1996.  In 1995, 885 requests for stocks were received, resulting
in 3,405 stocks being mailed.  This represents a 20% increase in the
number of stock requests.  Phyllis Oster, long-time manager of the
Mid-America stock center, retired March 1, 1995.  She will continue to
act as consultant to Bowling Green over the next two years.  Linda
Treeger, who has been at Bowling Green for 14 years, was promoted to
curator until a Ph.D.-level position could be filled.  Money for such a
position is being requested by Woodruff as part of his competing
renewal.  Bowling Green has agreed to give up part of its indirect
costs to co-share funding this position.  The Mid-America stock center
will have a site visit in June.  (See follow-up note in section D,

C. Umea Stock Center - M. Ashburner:

The European Stock Centre in Umea has now received funding from the
European Union. This will allow it to expand, over the next 3 years,
from about 1,700 stocks to about 5,000.  In addition, the funding includes
a subcontract to Seged for support of the 'Hungarian' P-element
collection. The Umea stock list has now been integrated into FlyBase
and it is hoped that the 'Hungarian' P-element stocks will be listed in FlyBase
in the coming year.

D.  Single Advisory Panel to U.S. Stock Centers - D. Lindsley:

Dan reported that the formation of this advisory committee to the stock
centers is trying to get underway, but has not yet had an
organizational meeting.  The Blue Ribbon Panel recommended and the
Board approved five panel members who will serve staggered terms of up
to five years, to provide continuity.  Lindsley will chair the panel
for the next two years.  Ashburner has agreed to serve for three
years.  Scott Hawley, Hugo Bellen, and Norbert Perrimon will also serve
on the panel.  (Follow-up note: NSF has recommended that the two US
stock centers be merged at Bloomington; this was recently announced to
the Board by Dan.  The Advisory Panel is working with the two stock
centers to plan for this transition.)


Berg recommended that the Board draw up by-laws, based in part on the
History of the Board written by Thom Kaufman and John Lucchesi, to
formalize the process by which regional representatives are selected,
to provide records of policy decisions regarding funding issues, to
document decisions regarding meeting format and site, and to otherwise
provide better organizational framework and continuity for future Board


Berg nominated Bill Gelbart to succeed her as President of the
Drosophila Governing Board.  The Board unanimously approved and the
ceremonial fly was duly transferred.

The meeting was adjourned.

Elaine Strass
Executive Director
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814
301-530-7079 (FAX)

Celeste Berg 
Past President
Genetics Department, Box 357360
University of Washington
Seattle,  WA  98195-7360

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