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NSF awards 22 new projects for plant genome research

ARLINGTON, Va.--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 22 new awards as part of the seventh year of its Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP). From apples to Zea mays, the program's goal is to expand knowledge about the biology of the plant kingdom, especially plants that people around the world rely on for food, clothing and other needs.

The awards involve researchers from 56 institutions in 22 states, as well as collaborators from 14 countries around the globe. The two- to five-year awards, ranging from $700,000 to $6.6 million, will explore the inner workings of plants' genes as well as the role genetics plays in plant development, metal tolerance, susceptibility to diseases and other economically important characteristics.

NSF's PGRP is part of the National Plant Genome Initiative established in 1998 as a coordinated national plant genome research program by the Interagency Working Group on Plant Genomes of the National Science and Technology Council. The long-term goal of this program is to understand the structure, organization and function of genomes of plants of economic importance and plant processes of potential economic value.

The 2004 awards focus in three main areas: detailed analysis of the genomes of key plants and families of plants; functional genomics -- the study of relationships between genes and the biological roles they play; and databases and tools to capture, share and analyze the massive amounts of genomics data being produced by the scientific community. In addition, all projects continue the commitment of the PGRP to train the next generation of scientists by exposing students to research at the cutting edge of biological sciences. As many as 150 students will participate in this year's new projects.

"The research supported will allow a deeper understanding of the basic life processes in plants, development of improved crops, as well as train a future generation of scientists," said Mary Clutter, h
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Contact: David Hart
dhart@nsf.gov
703-292-7737
National Science Foundation
21-Sep-2004


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