National Plant Genome Initiative 2003-2008
Bypass NavigationHome III. Plan for 2003-2008
Executive Summary
Major Accomplishments
Plan for 2003-2008
Continued Elucidation of Genome Structure and Organization
Translational Plant Genomics- Application of Genomics Tools
Bioinformatics in Every Plant Scientist's Research Toolbox
Education, Training and Outreach
Consideration of Broader Impacts
Guiding Principles for NPGI: 2003-2008
Cost Estimates for Achieving Objectives

















Objective 2. Functional Genomics Understanding the Biological Role of Genomic Sequences

With the completion of sequencing of the Arabidopsis and rice genomes, focus has shifted from the acquisition of primary sequence information in those plants towards understanding the biological role of genomic sequence, including coding, regulatory and repeated sequences. This is particularly important across species boundaries, where genes of similar sequence may serve unique or different functions. With a large percentage of a sequenced genome devoted to hypothetical or unknown gene function, new tools will be required to develop additional strategies for linking sequences to the biological functions that may well be unique to plants.

Complete the Arabidopsis functional genomics project as a Rosetta stone for all plants

The allocation of resources to assign a function to the more than 26,000 predicted Arabidopsis genes by the year 2010 is an important first step towards developing a reference for other plants for which there is limited genomic information. This multinational coordinated project implements a whole-system approach to genomics.

Develop a rice functional genomics project as a reference species for cereals

A multinational coordinated functional genomics project should be initiated for rice following the successful model established for Arabidopsis. Rice was selected as a reference species for monocots due to its small genome size (Table 1). With the cooperation of government, academic, and industrial scientists, the accurate draft sequence was completed in December 2002. The stage is now set to exploit the functional genomics tools for rice that were developed for Arabidopsis. Preliminary comparative analyses suggest the rice genome contains almost twice the number of genes found in Arabidopsis, many with unassigned function. Consequently, novel technologies should be developed in order to assign function to the unique genes in rice that have no apparent biological counterpart in Arabidopsis.

Establish repositories for plant genome research resources

Biological research resources such as germplasm, DNA libraries and clones, are major products of functional genomics research. To be truly useful, these resources must be accessible to the research community through public repositories, which adhere to a common set of standards for curation, maintenance, distribution and quality control. Such standards still need to be developed.