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Members of the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee
Foreword to the Report
Executive Summary
Arabidopsis: The Model Plant
The Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis Thaliana Genome Research Project (1990-2001)
The Genome Of Arabidopsis
The Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis Thaliana Functional Genomics Project
The International Arabidopsis Functional Genomics Community

Foreword to the Report

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 report outlined a plan for international cooperation in studies of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. The mission statement read “The mission of the project is to identify all of the genes by using a functional biological approach leading to determination of the complete sequence of the Arabidopsis genome by the end of this century.” The stated ultimate goal of the project was “to understand the physiology, biochemistry, and growth and developmental processes of a flowering plant at the molecular level, using Arabidopsis as an experimental model system.”

At the end of the 20th Century, the complete genome sequence of Arabidopsis was published, thus accomplishing the mission of the Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research Project. Analysis of the complete genome sequence indicates that there are approximately 25,500 genes in Arabidopsis. Now the Arabidopsis research community is proposing a new mission: to determine the function of every gene in Arabidopsis by 2010. The ultimate goal remains the same: a complete understanding of the biology of a flowering plant, using Arabidopsis as an experimental model system.

The purpose of this document is to outline what is required in the next ten years for the Arabidopsis research community to accomplish the new mission. The availability of the complete genome sequence gives us for the first time a glimpse of the information needed for a complete understanding of plant biology. However, like the charcoal sketches a painter draws on a canvas, this sequence is just a framework: an outline that provides data, but little understanding. Exploitation of this information will establish Arabidopsis as the premier species for the complete study of the physiology, biochemistry, and development of plants, and will serve as a basis for comparative studies as well as application of the knowledge gained to more economically important species.

Secondly, this document will serve as an update to the Arabidopsis research community at large of the efforts being made in Arabidopsis Functional Genomics world-wide. To maintain optimal research efficiency, it is important to keep the community current not only on the status of research but on the funding, biological resources and services being made available around the world that will drive this research forward.

It has became clear during the past ten years that international cooperation and communication are essential elements to success in an undertaking as large as the Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Functional Genomics Project. We have put forth a goal of no less than complete understanding of the biology of an organism; the only way to achieve success is to work together with the realization that we are all wedded to the same goal.

The Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee
June 2002

Last Modified: Mar 24, 2017


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