Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation

PLANT GENOME RESEARCH $65,000,000

The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Plant Genome Research (PGR) Subactivity is $65.0 million, an increase of $140,000, or 0.2 percent, over the FY 2001 Current Plan of $64.86 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

   FY 2000
Actual
FY 2001
Current Plan
FY 2002
Request
Change
Amount Percent
Plant Genome Research Projects 63.03 64.86 65.00 0.14 0.2%
Total, Plant Genome Research $63.03 $64.86 $65.00 $0.14 0.2%

NSF's Plant Genome Research Subactivity (PGR) was established in FY 1998 as part of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI), building upon an existing base of genome research supported throughout the BIO Activity. PGR supports research that advances our understanding of the structure, organization, and function of plant genomes, and that accelerates utilization of new knowledge and innovative technologies toward a more complete understanding of basic biological processes in plants, especially in economically important plants such as corn and soybean. This increased emphasis on plant genomics has revolutionized fundamental plant science research and its application to agriculture, forestry, energy, and the environment, as well as the production of plant-based industrial materials and chemicals.

Since the program's inception in FY 1998, support has been provided for research on structural and functional genomics, and for strengthening the research infrastructure necessary for robust plant genomics research. FY 1998 funds provided for accelerated sequencing of the genome of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, led to completion of this international effort in December 2000, four years ahead of the original schedule. Projects funded in FY 1998 and FY 1999 have resulted in a large number of Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs). ESTs represent unique identifiers for genes expressed in a plant and provide extremely useful markers for scientists to identify, isolate, and investigate specific genes of interest. As of March 2001, close to 850,000 entries are in the public EST database for corn, tomato, soybean, potato, cotton, and other plants, where less than 75,000 existed in 1998. These EST data and EST clones have been rapidly released to the public and are being widely used by the research community. In addition to research activities, all the awardees in this program are required to engage in education and outreach activities. A number of awardees have established partnerships with undergraduate or minority institutions that allow participation of scientists and students at these institutions in cutting edge plant genome research on an ongoing basis.

Important scientific discoveries are beginning to emerge from early awards. One example is a report about the identification of a gene in maize that has a strong association with flowering time. Flowering time determines where maize can be grown. For example, maize plants native to a tropical climate cannot be grown in the U.S. Midwest because they would not flower under its growing conditions, yet there exists valuable tropical maize germplasm with useful traits such as resistance to diseases. This gene could be used to help adapt tropical maize germplasm to the U.S. Midwest.

The FY 2002 Budget Request will continue support for the following areas:

  • Functional Genomics: During the last three years, plant genome research projects have created massive plant genomics datasets and resources, such as DNA sequence data for both model organisms and crop plants; large collections of maize mutants; DNA libraries consisting of whole genomes of major crop plants; and gene chips. Now plant genome researchers will utilize these datasets and resources to identify, isolate, and investigate genes associated with plant processes of economic importance, including nutritional quality, production of industrial chemicals, disease resistance, and tolerance to environmental stresses.

  • Training in Plant Genomics: Graduate and undergraduate training is interwoven into all plant genome awards. As a result, a new generation of scientists is being trained to use the power of genomics to advance plant science in both fundamental and applied fields. There is a great need to train people versed in informatics. Broadening participation to include underrepresented groups and non-research-intensive institutions will continue to be emphasized, as will international research experiences for young U.S. scientists

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Last Updated:
01/29/05
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