Objective 6. Consideration of Broader Impacts
The NPGI continues to encourage public – private industry interactions in the conduct of plant genomics research. While the goals of a public research program such as the NPGI are different from the goals of industrial research programs, it should be possible to find a common ground where both parties can collaborate in a synergistic manner. A good example is the human genome SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) consortium that pooled the public and private resources to complete the human SNP database. The collaboration resulted in availability of a key human genome research resource quicker and with a higher quality than would have been possible with each working independently. Private sector participation in the international rice genome-sequencing project is another example where company resources (draft sequence of the rice genome) were pooled with the sequences produced with public funds, and as a result, the public release of rice genome sequence was accelerated.
The NPGI, as a public project, will not directly support research in private industry. The key to successful
public-private collaboration is participation of both sides as equal partners by bringing their own
resources to the project and sharing the results openly and quickly with the rest of the community. Under
these conditions, the private sector investigators should receive proper credit for their contributions.
International research coordination and cooperation
All successful genome projects to date, including the Arabidopsis genome research project and the rice genome sequencing project, were carried out by cooperating groups of international scientists coordinating their activities in order to maximize efficiency and to minimize duplication of efforts. The resulting synergism advanced the science more rapidly and at a larger scale than was possible with each country working indepenently. The NPGI has utilized the principle that each international partner is supported by its own national sources, and that coordination is carried out by participating scientists based on the science. As more and more countries are organizing national plant genomics programs, the NPGI expects that there will be increased international collaborative research in this area. The NPGI will encourage NPGI-supported research projects to take full advantage of opportunities for international collaboration.
Communicating the outcomes of plant genome research to the public
The general public should be given accurate information to make informed decisions on issues such as genetically modified crops and the role of biotechnology in society. It is the responsibility of every scientist involved in the NPGI projects to contribute accurate information about the application of plant genomics research to daily life. Research is needed to identify methods for more effective communication with the general public.