Biological Sciences        Page 17

Plant Genome Research


   The FY 1999 Budget Request for the Plant Genome Research Subactivity is $40.00 million, the same as the FY 1998 Current Plan.

(Millions of Dollars)
  FY 1997
FY 1998
FY 1999
Plant Genome Research Projects $0.00 $40.00 $40.00 $0.00 0.0%
TOTAL, PLANT GENOME RESEARCH PROJECTS $0.00 $40.00 $40.00 $0.00 0.0%

   In FY 1997, an Interagency Working Group (IWG) for Plant Genomes was appointed by the National Science & Technology Council (NSTC) to plan for a collaborative interagency approach to address science-based priorities for a National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The IWG recommended the development of a NPGI with a goal to understand the structure and function of genes in plant species important to agriculture, environment, energy and health. It was envisioned that this increased emphasis on plant genomics would radically change fundamental plant science research and its application to agriculture, forestry, energy and environment, as well as the production of pharmaceuticals and other plant-based industrial materials and chemicals.

   NSF’s Plant Genome Research Subactivity (PGR) was developed in concert with the NPGI and builds upon an existing base of genome research supported throughout the BIO activity. PGR supports research that advances our understanding of the structure, organization and function of plant genomes, and accelerates utilization of new knowledge and innovative technologies toward a more complete understanding of basic biological processes in plants. An integrated understanding of plant genome structure and function is essential for the development of improved economically significant plants, including species such as corn.

   In FY 1998, support was provided for the following activities:

  • Collaborative Research and Infrastructure: Support was provided for research on structural and functional genomics, and for strengthening the research infrastructure necessary for robust plant genomics research. Given the intellectual and logistical complexity of the research, most projects involved the development of virtual centers and collaboratories where coordinated, multi-investigator teams pursue comprehensive plant genome research programs relevant to economically important plants. Support was provided for functional genomics research that links the data on the structure and organization of genomes to their function across biological levels (molecular, cellular, organismal and evolutionary) and disciplinary lines. Training of a new generation of biologists was an integral part of these projects. Infrastructure needs that were addressed included: informatics tools to integrate complex genome data; innovative technologies to facilitate cost-effective ways to generate data on genome structure and organization; genetic/physical maps of the major classes of crop plants, and shared resources such as databases, DNA clones, and molecular probes.
  • The Interagency Program on Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Sequencing was enhanced to accelerate the sequencing of the Arabidopsis genome so that it will be completed by the year 2000. The program involves DOE and USDA as partners and NIH as a collaborator.
   The FY 1999 Budget Request includes a total of $40.0 million to maintain these activities and hold a second Collaborative Research and Infrastructure competition.

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