In 1990, an ad hoc committee composed of nine scientists from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia prepared a report called "Long-range Plan for the Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research Project." The publication (NSF 90-80) outlined a plan for international cooperation in studies of the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. The project called for genetic and physiological experiments to identify, isolate, sequence, and understand genes; the establishment of worldwide electronic communication among laboratories; and the creation of databases so that new knowledge would be shared. The project plan also contained mechanisms for formal, annual progress reviews and the establishment of new goals.

This is the fourth annual report to summarize the achievements of the Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research Project. It includes traditional scientific reports as well as a collection of brief articles prepared for a more general audience. The information, graphics, and illustrations were provided by members of the Multinational Science Steering Committee and dozens of generous colleagues (see app. D)1.

It is the nature of any general progress report that represents the work of hundreds of scientists worldwide to fail to include or to misrepresent some significant achievements. We ask our colleagues to overlook such shortcomings and to communicate any concerns to committee members so that future reports will be as accurate as possible.

Our continuing goal is to show the scientific community -- and the public -- that knowledge of Arabidopsis can lead to a better understanding of all higher plants, and to an improved quality of life.

The Multinational Science Steering Committee
December 1994