GBRU started as a core facility in 1999 to meet the Mid South Area’s genomic research needs. It was realized that operation of such a facility would require dedicated equipment and personnel. Due to successful implementation of its original mandate and expansion of clientele, the lab was administratively changed to a standalone Research Unit in 2009. GBRU performs genomic research and provides collaborative genomics service for an array of technologies to ARS scientists [emphasis now on South East Area (SEA)] for the successful implementation into research programs in many disciplines. These services include, but are not limited to, high-throughput DNA sequencing, gene expression analysis, bioinformatics, DNA marker development, and high-throughput genotyping.
The centralization of these operations assures all research projects in the SEA have access to genomics related technology (even if their own projects do not have the trained staff to do molecular biology research), and that there is no unnecessary duplication of equipment within the SEA. GBRU has an assortment of liquid handling robots, DNA sequencers and computers for bioinformatic analysis. GBRU is staffed by highly trained individuals that perform all the procedures and provide bioinformatic support. The operation of GBRU is under the direction of an individual with broad research experience in genetics, molecular biology and breeding; this facilitates communication between the GBRU and scientists, and thus allows for optimal output. In fiscal year 2017, three new bioinformaticists were added to GBRU improving its scope of research.