The Interagency Working Group (IWG) for Plant Genomes was appointed in May 1997 by the Executive Office of the President in response to a request from the Senate VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The IWG consists of representatives from the Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The IWG was charged with identifying science-based priorities for a national plant genome initiative and to plan and coordinate plant genome research activities for the Nation.
In January 1998, the IWG published the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) five-year plan (http://www.ostp.gov/NSTC/html/npgireport.html). The plan recommended increased Federal investment focused on the following plant genome research objectives:
In the original report, the IWG established the following guiding principles for implementing the NPGI five-year plan:
The accomplishments over the last five years far exceed the original goals set by the IWG in 1998 for the NPGI. In part, this is due to an increased investment in plant genome research, which has produced the necessary genomics research tools and biological resources for the research community to make rapid advances. In addition, as predicted in 1998 by the IWG, the cost of key technologies such as sequencingand high throughput experimental methods, as well as computer hardware/software and data storage, has decreased steadily. As a result, individual investigators and teams of investigators from a broad spectrum of institutional settings have been able to participate in plant genome research, thus contributing to accelerated advances and enabling the US to be at the forefront of plant genomics.
Success of the last five years has been due in part to strict adherence to principles governing the administration of the NPGI investment in research. Projects were selected on a competitive basis with rigorous peer review. A requirement of funding was that all outcomes of NPGI-coordinated research were to be freely shared in a timely manner. Significant investments by NIH and other agencies in human genome research have also contributed significantly to the success of the NPGI. These investments have supported the development of new research technologies and tools in genomics, which are generally applicable to all genomics research.
In this report, the IWG documents significant NPGI achievements since 1998 and articulates a new plan for the next five years (2003 – 2008). The IWG solicited and received input from many sources in the development of this plan. Recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences and a variety of stakeholder workshops including scientists, growers, producers and the public were used to identify future scientific opportunities and challenges for the NPGI (See Appendix below). The new plan will be used by each of the participating agencies to establish priorities and initiate new activities consistent with the mission of each agency and with the overall goals of the NPGI.