Arabidopsis Thaliana is a small, flowering mustard plant that has become the subject of intense study by scientists around the world. It has many characteristics of an ideal experimental systema model organism for elucidating the biology of flowering plants. Recognizing the promise of Arabidopsis, NSF began working with leaders in plant biology in the 1980's to cultivate a spirit of cooperation and to encourage the use of the model plant in research. In 1990, NSF launched a multi-agency, multinational project to identify all of the genes in Arabidopsis by location and functionin other words, to create a genetic road map to flowering plants. The collegial Arabidopsis research community now expects to complete the sequencing of the plant's genome by the end of 2000several years ahead of schedule.
Photo by: Felice Frankel/Laboratory of Gerald Fink, Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology