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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Plant Genome Research (PGR) Subactivity is $75.0 million, equal to the FY 2002 Current Plan.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Plant Genome Research Projects






Total, Plant Genome Research






The Plant Genome Research Subactivity (PGR) was initiated in FY 1998, building upon an existing base of genome research supported throughout the BIO activity. The PGR supports projects that make significant contributions to our understanding of plant genome structure and function. Emphasis is placed on plants of economic importance, as well as plant processes of potential economic value. Long-term benefits of this research include fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of plant biology and practical applications to crop improvement, and the development of novel, plant-based products.

The program was established as part of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). NSF plays a major role in the NPGI; other participating agencies are USDA, DOE, and NIH. The NSF program is managed according to the guidelines and objectives set for the NPGI, and it works closely with the other agencies in coordinating funding activities.

Significant progress toward the NPGI goals has been made. Substantial amounts of research resources and research tools have been developed that now make it possible for scientists located anywhere in the U.S. to participate in plant genome research. For example, PGR-supported projects have produced and deposited into public databases over 1 million plant Expressed Sequence Tags (EST), which are being used by scientists to identify the genes of their interest in an organism of their interest. Over 72 BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes) libraries in various plant species are available, again enabling individual scientists to identify and study specific genes of their interest.

In terms of scientific progresses, PGR has supported large-scale genome projects that address major biological questions in plants, such as epigenetics, polyploidy, speciation, and plant responses to environmental and biological stresses. Many of the projects are conducted as virtual centers involving scientists across institutional and disciplinary barriers.

PGR supports development of plant genome technologies as well. Some of the projects supported include a new chromosomal mapping method called "the optical mapping", a rapid way to select mutations from any gene in any plant, called "the Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes (TILLiNG), and a robust maize transformation technology.

The FY 2003 Budget Request will support the following areas:

  • Functional Genomics: During the last four 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.

  • Young Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research: This activity is designed to increase participation of new investigators in plant genome research. Young investigators are encouraged to submit individual or small collaborative projects to establish themselves as active members of the plant genome research community and become tomorrow's leaders.

  • Large-scale Sequencing of Genomes of Economically Important Plants: The huge genome size of several economically important crops, for example, 3 billion base pairs for corn, 1 billion for soybeans, and 16 billion for wheat, made it impractical to sequence their genomes. Recent technological advances now make it possible to sequence gene rich regions of the genomes of these crops. In FY 2003 the PGR will support such sequencing projects.

  • Plant Genome Virtual Centers: These are "centers without walls" or collaboratories where coordinated, multi-investigator teams pursue comprehensive plant genome research programs relevant to economically important plants or plant processes. Currently active centers range in size and scope, some with a focus on functional genomics and others with a focus on developing tools and resources for plant genomics studies for the scientific community.
  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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