Natural products (NPs) are chemical compounds produced by living organisms. Many NPs have proven to be incredibly valuable pharmaceutical, agricultural, or industrial agents; in fact, roughly 75% of antibacterial and anticancer drugs are either NPs or inspired by NPs. The untapped chemical diversity in nature therefore holds tremendous potential for society. Organisms that produce NPs are often uncultivable or genetically intractable, and of those that are cultivable and genetically accessible, only a small fraction of the genetically encoded NPs can be detected in laboratory conditions. Genome sequencing has revealed an enormous diversity of gene clusters in fungi, plants, and bacteria, encoding a concomitant diversity of chemical scaffolds. The advent of synthetic biology has made it possible to engineer these clusters in common laboratory model organisms, which is our focus at the Genomes to Natural Products Network (GNPN).
The GNPN is a network led by NIGMS staff and three cross-disciplinary research teams (U01 GM110706, U01 GM110714 and U01 GM110699) funded to develop genomics and synthetic biology based platforms for NP discovery. Our goal is to overcome present technical and knowledge barriers as well as to accelerate NP discovery. The GNPN provides a platform for activities among our members, so as to leverage knowledge and resources and maximize the dissemination and accessibility of the resources we develop to the scientific community. Find out more about our mission here.