We present the design and use of gMP as a tool for developing distributed bioinformatics applications. gMP is a purely Java-based interface that adds MPI-like message-passing and collective communication to the genomics Research Network Architecture (gRNA). The gRNA is a highly programmable, modular environment specifically designed to invigorate the development of genome-centric tools for life science research. We demonstrate the development of a distributed application to detect regulatory elements using correlation with gene expression data. Its implementation with gMP leads to significant runtime savings on our distributed gRNA system. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.