NSF awards $75.6M for plant genome research

The National Science Foundation today awarded a total of $75.6 million to support 23 collaborative research projects in plant genomics.

Eight young investigators were also awarded a total of $9.5 million under the inaugural Young Investigator Awards in Plant Genome Research competition.

This year's competition emphasized collaborative research in functional genomics, including development of tools to facilitate gene expression studies. A project led by the University of Arizona will develop new, sensitive methods for measuring gene expression in specific types of cells and parts of cells, while a project led by the University of Alabama, Birmingham, will develop new methods for analysis of gene expression data on a genome-wide scale.

Two collaborative research awards were made to begin isolation and sequencing of maize genes, one led by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, and the other led by Rutgers University in New Jersey. In the Danforth Center project, scientists will test two methods for isolating the generich regions of the maize genome, while the Rutgers research team will sequence 20 million base pairs of the maize genome and assemble the sequence onto a detailed map.

The Young Investigator Awards in Plant Genomics focuses on the development of the future leaders in plant genome research. Funded research includes development of new computational tools to compare plant genomes, analysis of genes involved in plant resistance to pathogens, and genes involved in root and fruit development. All the Young Investigator Award recipients have earned doctorates since January 1997 and are at the beginning of their independent research careers.

Plant genomic research provides the nation with scientific understanding of the structure and function of genomes of plants that are important to agriculture, environmental management, energy, and health. Besides maize, researchers will concentrate on other crops of economic imp

Contact: Manny Van Pelt
National Science Foundation

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