INTEGRATIVE BIOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE $98,726,000
The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Integrative Biology and
Neuroscience (IBN) Subactivity is $98.73 million, a decrease of $2.69
million, or 2.7 percent from the FY 2002 Current Plan of $101.42 million.
(Millions of Dollars)
Integrative Biology & Neuroscience Research Projects
Research supported by the Integrative Biology and Neuroscience
Subactivity seeks to understand the living organism - plant, animal, and
microbe - as a unit of biological organization; and integrates genomic,
molecular, biochemical, and biophysical approaches to the understanding
of the development, function, neurobiology, and behavior of living organisms.
The emphasis is on understanding the physiological and biochemical mechanisms
through which an organism adapts to changing environmental conditions.
IBN supports the development and use of a wide diversity of organisms
to assist both in identifying unifying principles common to all living
beings and in documenting the variety of mechanisms that have evolved
in specific organisms. Genome-enabled science and systems biology will
complement other strategic approaches to investigate how organisms carry
out basic biological processes.
In FY 2003, activities in the IBN Subactivity are decreased
by $2.69 million. This reflects the restructuring of the BIO budget structure
to establish the new Emerging Frontiers Subactivity, which was established
as an incubator for evolving multidisciplinary research and networking
activities. Within the budget request, IBN will include enhanced support
21st Century Biology: The overarching
goal of biology is to understand life at both its most fundamental level
and in all its complexity. Exciting advances and integration of advances
in genomics, proteomics, informatics, computer science, mathematics, physics,
chemistry, and engineering offer the promise of realizing these ambitious
goals. IBN will support 21st Century Biology research to discover
the functioning of genes within organisms and in the environment, the
evolution of development, and computational biology.
- Functional Genomics: IBN will focus on the support
of integrative approaches to the study of plant and animal form and
function at the organismal, organ, and tissue levels of organization.
Integrated studies will yield information and models that can provide
insight into the interaction of biological, physical, and behavioral
Example: The flowering time of many species of plants is affected
by temperature and day length. Understanding these phenomena has been
aided by the cloning and characterization of one of the genetic loci
responsible for the late-flowering habit of Arabidopsis winter
annuals. This locus (FLC) encodes a transcription factor, which acts
through repression of other, "downstream" genes in the flowering
pathway. A number of FLC-related genes have also been cloned and sequenced.
Determination of the molecular basis of the regulation of FLC by some
of these genes, and of its mode of action in mediating flowering pathways
in Arabidopsis, will provide a basis for understanding flowering
time regulation in other plants.
- Evolution of Development: Recent conceptual and
technical advances in developmental biology have led to new developmental
approaches to the understanding of phylogeny. The genes directing the
development of all metazoan organisms have been shown to be strikingly
similar. The core set of these genes and gene families is relatively
small, and changes in the program of their expression can cause dramatic
changes in animal and plant form. IBN will support research to study
how these genes and gene families work in different species, research
to elucidate how gene duplication and divergence alters developmental
mechanisms, and studies of the role genome modification plays in co-evolution
Example: Studies of the development of two different sea urchin species
have shown how surprisingly fast dramatic evolutionary changes in
animal form can occur. The two urchins very closely resemble each
other as adults but go through very different patterns of development
and the juveniles look very different from one other. When hybrids
of these two species are formed, a surprising juvenile form results
that resembles a starfish more than either sea urchin. It has been
assumed that evolutionary change in animal form occurs very slowly,
over geological timescales. The dramatic result of this laboratory-induced
combining of evolutionary programs, however, demonstrates that evolutionary
change may occur rapidly in nature.
- Computational Biology: Computational biology
is part of a larger revolution that affects how all of science is conducted.
This is being driven by the generation and use of information in all
forms and in enormous quantities. Computational biology deals with two
pressing needs, the management and the analysis and interpretation of
biological information. Characterization of biological systems has reached
an unparalleled level of detail. To organize this detail and achieve
integrative understanding of fundamental life processes, it is imperative
that powerful computational approaches be applied to the frontier problems
in biology. IBN will support research that utilizes advanced computational
approaches and tools to understand biological systems in all their complexity.